Let’s Talk

What Do I Say Exactly . . . to be a Repairer of the Breach? Part 5

Let’s Talk! I am stepping away from your questions this week, and offering you some questions to ponder and a morsel to chew on for the next few weeks.

There are many conversations going on about reconciliation and the question that keeps coming up is “how do we start?” May I submit something for you to think about during the holidays?

We are entering the greatest season of all for love. No, not Valentine’s Day—it’s Christmas!

Could we ask for the gift of God’s Love to overshadow us, overpower us, overtake us, and overwhelm us? Could we ask that the spirit of hatred be far from us? Could we ask that our communities experience a radical change of agape love? Could we smile at strangers today and forgive our family members who have hurt us?  

Choosing love is truly a choice, minute by minute, day by day. If we miss choosing love and mess up early in the day, we can start over again. We can choose baby steps in honor of the baby in the manger and ask for Him to light the way and indwell us with His power to wear Love. For, we can’t do this without the very author of Love helping us.

Have you asked God to transform you yet? This is the season. His Love is waiting for you.

A very peaceful, merry, love-filled Christmas to you. Let’s Talk in 2017!

For Deeper Reflection

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Luke 1:35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”

Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,  namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.
You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

Let’s Talk

What Do I Say Exactly . . . to be a Repairer
of the Breach? Part 4

Q. You’ve talked recently about being repairers of the breach. Would you share more examples of what this looks like?

A. Let’s Talk! Reconciliation is a big subject for any time of the year, but the broken places seem to show up even more during the holidays. If you pray, think about asking for wisdom for what exactly to say and what not to say to others.

You might also want to choose to respond and not to react to difficult people or difficult subjects. When we react, we get defensive and start unraveling. Whereas, if we choose a response that is measured, fair, and truthful—and spoken in love—repair and restoration have a presence.

Walking away or physically removing yourself from a verbal conflict is often a good choice too. It can be a strong message, not a sign of weakness. For years I have shared with small children that if they are in a pressured situation, it’s okay to just turn and walk away. One doesn’t have to say a word, or if that feels awkward, say, “excuse me” as you leave.

Many times we wait for the “someone” who has been “most at fault” to initiate forgiveness. But, consider this: who is in the stronger position to initiate forgiveness? Maybe it’s you. The stronger, the more mature one can start the conversation!

For Deeper Reflection

James 1: 5 and 19 “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him . . . . everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.”
Proverbs 16:7 “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.
You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

Let’s Talk

What Do I Say Exactly . . . to be a Repairer of the Breach? Part 3

Q. You talked last week about being repairers of the breach. Would you share more examples?
A. Let’s Talk! An example this week is, “What do I say exactly when there are big differences of opinions and philosophies within relationships?

This is a tough one! The land mines in family relationships seem extra important to resolve. I’ve listed some truths below. If you have others, please chime in and share with us:

  • Land mines and differences of opinion are to be expected in families, even though we seem constantly surprised when they show up! It’s normal.
  • A suggested goal is NOT to try to change the other person(s). That’s often a desire, but carries land mines of its own! We need to let that one go, both for ourselves and for the other person(s). When people feel someone trying to change them, it feels controlling. This destroys relationships instead of bringing us closer.
  • After you have asked if you can share your thoughts, another goal is to be able to communicate your information in a way that shares information but doesn’t attack the listener.
  • During your conversation, it’s helpful to make the point that the relationship is more important than the argument. You may still leave the conversation with the debate unfinished, but you will leave the door open for more conversation. In a healthy relationship, you will most likely have more opportunities. We often think it’s our one chance and take a bigger lunge than advisable.

For Deeper Reflection

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.
You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

Let’s Talk

What Do I Say, Exactly, to be a Repairer
of the Breach?

Q. You talked last week about being repairers of the breach. But how does one start? What does one say?

A. Let’s Talk! The desire to be a repairer is great, and good conversations are a part of healing relationships. Every word matters— as does tone of voice, timing, and body language. We can explore more of what to say exactly in the weeks ahead, but today let’s talk about the most important two foundational pieces.

First, our hearts need to be right! Is our heart pure or prideful? Is it genuinely concerned or critical? Is our goal to help or to be right? Do we want to make things better or control things? If you are a God-follower, did you get a burden for a repairer assignment and a download from Him? Are you walking in that anointing or just your own strength?

Secondly, it is huge to ask permission to share your words with the one(s) you wish to make repairs. It can be a simple, “May I share a concern?” “May I share a possible solution?” “May I share an idea?” “May I share some feedback?”

As we inch into this subject of What Do I Say Exactly, please send in some scenarios for the next post and I’ll be glad to give you some ideas on what you might want to say. The scenarios can be real or imagined. I won’t ask. Thank you so much. I look forward to hearing from you.


For Deeper Reflection
I am repeating last post’s verses plus some, in order to widen our view of this compelling invitation to assist in bringing restoration to our own hearts and to others.

Isaiah 61:1-4 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, To grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting so they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations; and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.”

Isaiah 58:12 “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; you will raise up the age-old foundations; and you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.
You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

Let’s Talk

A Repairer of the Breach

Q. How does this phrase relate to us today?

A. Let’s Talk!
We find the reference to this phrase in Isaiah 58:12:
“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets in which to dwell.”

As I have read and re-read the text, I see a current application of many “sons and daughters of the King” rebuilding, raising up, repairing, and restoring their families, communities, and even their own hearts.

We are in a day of profound brokenness. But I believe there are many who long to impact their world with rebuilding, raising up, repairing, and restoring.

I would love it if you readers would be willing to reply to this post and tell me what you are sensing, seeing, and believing about those bringing changes in our culture today. How do you see that manifesting in your own life? I will share any responses and explore this further if there is interest.

For Deeper Reflection

Here is another almost twin verse to chew on!

Isaiah 61:4 “Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations; and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.”

Please consider sharing your thoughts on this topic. Thanks!

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.
You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

 

Let’s Talk

What Is a Relationship Addiction?

Q. I have just heard the term relationship addiction
– what’s that?

A. Let’s Talk! Relationship addicts don’t just care about relationships, they are hooked on relationships, more than most anything in their lives. They are “okay” if they are in relationship with someone and “not okay” (and unraveling) if there is not a relationship. So, it’s a kind of dependency, like substance abuse, where one is looking to that something for one’s love, joy, peace, and completeness. Addiction to relationships is dangerous territory. It’s idolatry. It’s using another person or more to get your own emotional needs met.

Relationship addiction is not exactly codependency because that involves two people! Just one person can be a relationship addict and not involve another person. In fact, relationship addicts are addicted to most of the key relationships in their life, regardless of the response of the other person(s).

A relationship addict may appear at first very caring and gregarious, but ultimately becomes controlling. Some have even said that being around a relationship addict feels suffocating, like the air is being sucked out of the room. There is also a feeling of panic when a relationship addict tries to pursue and control your time, telephone, and even your other friendships.

We are “wired” by God for a relationship with Him and with one another, but the human experiences are to be healthy. HE is the one who longs to meet our emotional needs and bring us freedom, breath and life! May our dependency be on Him and not one another. May we not treasure anyone above Him.

For Deeper Reflection

Proverbs 29:25 “The fear [reverence] of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord
will be exalted.”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.
You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

Let’s Talk

Post 9/11 Afterthoughts

Let’s Talk! I just found a treasure in my files that might encourage brave and resilient hearts about some hidden miracles on that dark day of 9/11/2001.

The author’s name is Everett Tatman. He wrote:

Dear Family and Friends,

I had a very dear friend question my faith in God right after the terrorist attack on America. Her question was simply put, “Where is your God today?” She was very hurt, as all Americans were, so I tried not to react defensively. Since that moment I have prayed and grieved over the disastrous events. However, I believe I have the answer. I know where my God was on the morning of September 11, 2001. He was very busy!

First of all, He was trying to discourage anyone from taking [a terrorist-targeted] flight. Those four flights together [had the potential to hold] over 1,000 passengers and there were only 266 aboard. He was on four commercial flights giving terrified passengers the ability to stay calm. Not one of the family members who was called by a loved one on one of the hijacked planes said that the passengers were screaming in the background. On one of the flights He was giving strength to passengers to try to overtake the hijackers.

He was busy trying to create obstacles for employees at the World Trade Center. After all, only around 20,000 were at the towers when the first jet hit. Since the buildings hold over 50,000 workers, this was a miracle in itself. How many of the people who were employed at the WTC told the media that they were late for work or they had traffic delays?

He was holding up two 110-story buildings so that two-thirds of the workers could get out. I was so amazed that the top of the towers didn’t topple when the jets impacted.

Although this is without a doubt the worst thing I have seen in my life, I can see God’s miracles in every bit of it. I keep thinking about the people and praying for them every chance I have. I can’t imagine going through such a difficult time and not believing in God. Life would be hopeless.

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.
You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

Let’s Talk

What Is Enmeshment?

Q. Would you please address more about enmeshment and boundary issues?

A. Let’s Talk! Here’s how to “draw” enmeshment. Draw two circles side by side. Now move them even closer where the sides don’t just touch, they cross over the boundary of the other circle and create a shared space. That’s us when we become too entrenched in another person’s life.

It may sound like a good thing to be close and to care deeply for another person – but when the connection goes way outside the normal range, the relationship is not healthy emotionally.

That space can be a minimal or large area, but each enmeshed person has now lost some of his/her own individuality. In enmeshment, the problems of one person become the emotional burden for the other. Even the joys. Enmeshment is a codependency of the heart because your joy is all about and dependent on how the other person is functioning. If this person in your life is okay, you’re okay. If the individual is not okay, you are not okay.

Enmeshment is not two whole and healthy people sharing life – it’s two halves! Think about this: Which is a healthier relationship, a 50-50 relationship or a 100-100 relationship? Two emotionally whole people connecting and communicating is the goal, not two halves. It’s better math! It’s also interesting how a GOOD thing (a tight relationship) can go south. Many have shared with me the pain of enmeshment when their close relationship with someone got TOO close. I welcome your thoughts on how enmeshment has affected you.

For Deeper Reflection

Take some time in the next day or so to read Psalm 139. The plan for our lives is to be individuals, fearfully and wonderfully made.

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.
You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

Let’s Talk

Relationship Builders

Q. What are some relationship builders for those of us with boundary issues?

A. Let’s Talk! Good and healthy conversations—spoken or written—are the vehicles for stronger and clearer boundaries, whether you have been too enmeshed or too distant. I’ll share some examples below.

If you have been too soft, wishy-washy, double-messaged, or enmeshed in your boundaries with others, here’s a good conversation starter for healthier relationships:

“I have recently seen that I fail to say no when I want to at times. Because I care about relationships and enjoy serving others, I am prone to be a doormat. This is a perversion of being a servant actually. I am trying to learn when I am to say no and when I am to say yes and be true to my soul and spirit. [Jesus said no many times!] So, when I say no to you, please hear me, especially since it is new for me and hard for me to say.”

If you have issues concerning too many boundaries, mostly no-s, here is a conversation starter for you:

“I have recently seen that I fail to say yes when I should. The pattern of my cautious life has been to say no, because then I feel more in control and more protected. But, I see that my over-protection is over-control and is not a relationship builder. I would like to begin saying yes when it is appropriate.”

Let me know if this helps!

Deeper Reflection

Matthew 5:37: But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No.’”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.
You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com

Let’s Talk

Relationship Busters

Q. What are some more relationship busters besides doormat living (your last column)?

A. Let’s Talk! Last post we talked about needing to say “no” when appropriate so you are not walked on, which is about maintaining too few boundaries. Another topic along this line is when one has TOO MANY boundaries. Let’s take a look at that now.

We talked last time about the underlying story of why one has too few boundaries (doormat living): often it’s about being a people pleaser.

When someone has too many boundaries, he or she exhibits an unspoken message to others to not come close. With this emotional distancing, the person appears too fragile, too busy, too angry, or as though they have put up another “wall” of some description. The reasons underneath that wall vary, of course, but usually there is a deep hurt or injury that has not been processed and healed.

Do you see a common denominator? Yes, people. There’s a cost when we injure others, and a cost when we let others injure us. Having too few boundaries or too many boundaries are not emotionally healthy places. If you find yourself in either category, I do encourage you to get professional help to unravel the places of injury to your heart and relationships.

Yes, you know the next thing I am going to say. God also longs to complete the healing needed for your boundary issues. Not as a mask or as a stick-on answer, but for the deeper healing needed.

For Deeper Reflection

Matthew 11:28-29: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” [emphasis mine]

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.
You can contact me confidentially at DrHelen@braveandresilient.com