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

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

Keeping You Strong

KFourteen years ago, June 7, 2002, Gracia Burnham was forced to leave her dead husband lying in the rain on a soggy hillside in a Philippine jungle. As captives of the Filipino terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf, American aviation missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham endured a year on the run across densely vegetated outlying islands.

Their Muslim kidnappers engaged in sixteen gun battles with the Philippines military up to that fateful June afternoon when the military surprised the rebels’ jungle camp, killing Martin and a Filipino hostage. A bullet ripped clear through Gracia’s left thigh and the government forces immediately evacuated Gracia from the tragic scene.

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke with Gracia via phone about her year of captivity and her life now as a speaker, author, and grandmother living in rural Kansas. Surviving as a jungle hostage only to have your soul mate killed upon your rescue might send many a person into a horrific tailspin. What has kept Gracia from giving up under such duress?

Gracia carries a 3 x 5 card in her Bible that Martin carried in his. Martin wrote these words from 1 Corinthians 1:8-9 on the card: “He will keep you strong to the end . . . . God, who has called you . . . is faithful.” Gracia explains that this Bible truth assures her that “I can make it after all. I can survive.”

Gracia talks frequently to audiences from cancer patients to school children about being brave and resilient beyond one’s own strength. “We can all look at our lives and see how we’ve gone through a terrible trial that we never would have chosen,” Gracia says, “but God does show up. He is still loving and good.” And as Gracia can attest, God gives fresh strength in the uttermost parts of the planet.

How has God shown up and given you strength when you need it most?

Brave and Resilient Tip #138: You can gain strength and make it after all.

Let’s Talk

Feel Angry?

Q. What are feelings of anger about?

A. Let’s Talk! Anger is everywhere! Just drive anywhere for five minutes and you’ll see all levels of road rage. Go to the grocery store and you will see families out of control. You’ve seen anger many places in your day, haven’t you? Anger even seems to be on the increase. A working definition of anger is: Anger is the result of things not going the way we had hoped. It’s a loss of hope and feeling that things are just not right.

Our world today is so full of loss of control, things not going the way they “should,” and despair that our new normal will ever feel really normal. At times, so much feels different!

Sounds like I’m a glass-half-empty melancholic, doesn’t it? But, I’m a sanguine! I too have been reflecting on the anger I see each day large and small. I see both friends’ and strangers’ anger because “things are just not like they are supposed to be.”

Is this why we are drawn to entertainment and countless diversions? Is this why we like connecting in texts and social media? Are we driven to find a so-called happy place?

What do we do? For starters, God knew the damage we’d carry if we held on to anger too long. He says not to let the sun go down on anger. It’s normal to get angry and experience disappointment that things are not as they should be. We are just not to hold onto anger a long time. A day is as long as we need to be angry before this emotion needs to go. When things don’t go as you expected, can you think through your expectation(s) of what went south and let this unmet expectation go? Can you “die” to the expectation of how things SHOULD have gone?

Now, would you ask God to renew your mind? Ask Him to hit the Refresh button for you and cast your hope on Him instead of how things should be. Are you willing to switch your thinking around? Will you try it this week?

For Deeper Reflection

[google Bible verses on anger and you will find some treasure!]

Ephesians 4:27 “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,and do not give the devil an opportunity.”

Psalm 37:8 “Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
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

Feel Inadequate?

Q. You last wrote about rebellion leading to poor self-esteem. What about feelings of inadequacy?

A. Let’s Talk! Many people have had a sense of inadequacy – feeling that they are not enough or that they don’t have what it takes. Living in our culture plays into that, but we can recover from that with God’s help. HE becomes our adequacy.

Poor self-esteem is more about reaping the effects of poor choices like toxic, irrational, and untrue thinking and resisting authorities and instruction.What these effects have in common are identity issues. Poor self-esteem is the result of failing in some areas and struggling to “be OK.” The sense of inadequacy is a more vague cloud over us when we are not sure we are OK.

Both poor self-esteem and a sense of inadequacy demonstrate our failure to comprehend God’s love and plan for our lives. Failures and inadequacies on this earth are common. But God doesn’t want us to base our worth or value on things from this earth.

I heard someone say the other day, “I entrust myself to Your loving reception, for everything I am and everything I am not. . . .” What a healthy balance! What acceptance of some things we are and the things we are lacking.

For Deeper Reflection
Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

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

Puppy Love

IMG_2225Five weeks ago, I brought home my new puppy girl after a whirlwind 30-hour adventure to Reno and back. My new collie companion is named Ayrabelle (Air-uh-bell), which in Scottish—the home country of collies—means “prayerful . . . beautiful . . . loving.” What a fitting name for this spunky yet gentle pup! Two hours after I met her in the Reno airport, Ayrabelle crossed her paws and fell asleep on my lap during the turbulent flight to Seattle. Doesn’t she look “prayerful”? (Shhh . . . don’t tell any airline folks that I took her out of her soft-sided carrier.) IMG_2109

So much prayer went into my finding Ayrabelle and I am beyond grateful for your prayers after my agonizing loss of Logan. I can hardly believe that he passed six months ago! I plan to train Ayrabelle for puppy therapy to visit hospitals, care facilities, schools, etc. More and more I am sensing the need to give back to others and my community. I know I will have more stories to tell in the months and years ahead.

In the meantime, I want to share a few darn cute photos of Ayrabelle, also affectionately known as Piranha Puppy. Her baby teeth are razor sharp and I feel like my recent vocabulary has reduced to two words that I bark out repeatedly: “No chew.”

IMG_2170Here’s to believing that good things DO come to those who wait. In this process of waiting and searching for the right-fit dog for me, I’ve found greater respect for the lamenting and honesty in the Psalms. David and the other psalmists remind us that it’s okay to grieve and long for better times. Waiting is interwoven in resiliency. “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord, hear my voice . . . I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:1-2, 5).

If you are in an in-between time of waiting for answers to your prayers, take heart in knowing that Ayrabelle, my prayerful pup, is ready to cross her paws for you. Me too.

IMG_2269Brave and Resilient Tip #135: Good things DO come to those who wait!

Hmmm…look who has mud on her lips. Someone was digging in the backyard raised flowerbed where Logan loved to dig.

Let’s Talk

Rebellious Children

Q. What are some practical, tangible ideas for parents of rebellious children?

A. Let’s Talk! Is there a possibility the child feels that the rules of the house are more important to the parent than their relationship? Children often rebel at rules when a loving relationship isn’t primary in the home. Is the atmosphere in the home a “punishing” one or a loving one?

All of us—young and older—naturally resist authority. Scripture indicates that rebellion is our very human nature! But, when rebellion occurs in a home, there are some ways to create consensus and help diminish the tension. These ideas in Let’s Talk are not meant to be pat answers to a complicated problem. I don’t ever like to sound like that. I would, however, like to offer a menu of some practical ideas over the next few weeks.

The relationship is the first goal. If there is building of relationships, there is more inclination that the children will want to follow and not resist the leadership. What could you do as a family to make things better? In a loving way, what about asking your rebellious child that question and ask for his/her input? You’ll want to be a good listener and not defensive at this moment. You will have other opportunities for your own thoughts.

I used to ask teachers to ask their students during the first week of school to circle up and have a meeting about what they wanted to happen and what they didn’t want to happen in the classroom that year. One by one agreements were formed and facilitated by the teacher, but the ideas were from the students and there was 100 percent buy-in for the rules they would follow that year. It’s also a model for the family, where rules are forged and agreed upon in emotionally safe family meetings where all feel heard and all input is respected. Kids feel like they are an important part of this process and feel more inclined to follow than rebel because of their own input.

Rebellion shows up the most in conversations and decisions concerning the rules and chores, as well as the discipline issues when rules aren’t followed. So, in the next post, I will share some ideas and language to facilitate that fun piece. In the meantime, let’s think about our parent-child relationship.

For Deeper Reflection

It is because of a relationship with God that I long to follow HIS instructions … in that order!

2 Timothy 3:1-5

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power….”

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

More Double-Bind Examples

Q. Would you give some more examples of a double bind?

A. Let’s Talk! Generally, a double bind is the “shot-myself-in-the-foot” moment when we sabotage ourselves. One example is someone who is drawn to a party lifestyle but suffers with social anxiety. Another example is someone who is lonely and desires friendships, but alienates acquaintances with a critical spirit.

In other words, your choices about what you are doing and what you want CLASH! It can happen when you are a small child or when you are a senior citizen. We can spot that there’s a problem, but sometimes it’s hard for us to see that we ourselves created the problem.

I have long loved Dr. William Glasser’s Reality Therapy questions for self-evaluation. Question #1: What is it that I want or need? Question #2: What is it I am doing (my chosen behavior)? Question #3: Is what I am doing (my chosen behavior) HELPING or HURTING me in getting what I want/need? [the sabotage] Question #4: What do I need to do to make things better? [the problem solving now begins!]

There’s not room in this column to discuss excuses, except to say they are counterproductive. Problem solving begins when we take responsibility for our choices, for they are our chosen behaviors.

There is great news. I am not suggesting you do the problem solving in your own strength. Never do I ever mean to point you in that direction. The deep changes I seek for us all involve this Easter weekend. It’s the new life that comes when we turn to the God of the universe. He takes our dark, broken, and sinful choices and gives us eternal life as we invite His Son into our lives. It’s a real beginning if you have never done that—and then many, many wonderful new changes follow as we ask Him to empower us.

For Deeper Reflection

John 11:25-26 “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die”

Romans 6:4 “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

Romans 8:11 “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

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

Looking Too Far Ahead?

IMG_1183Sometimes I find myself pressing to know how the future unfolds. I want assurances that everything will work out according to my wouldn’t-it-be-grand hopes. Maybe you can relate. I know hobbits Sam and Frodo can.

Near the end of the movie The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, buddies Sam and Frodo are weak-kneed after battling everything from grotesque little Gollum (how can we ever forget “Preh-shhhhussss”?) to that massive, deadly spider. Battered and famished, the two companions reach the top of a ridge overlooking a valley swarming with enemy troops.

Across the horizon loom the flaming fires of Mount Doom—their long-anticipated destination. Sensing that Frodo is on the edge of giving up, Sam encourages his friend: “Come on, let’s just make it down the hill for starters.”

That’s what our steady God says to us when we’re drained and dismayed. “Let’s not look too far ahead; let’s just make it down this hill for starters.”

If you’re catching your breath at the top of the hill, linger a bit longer. Cast your eyes from the swarming obstacles ahead straight into the eyes of Jesus. The Bible’s Hebrews 12:2 encourages us: “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. . . .” A race that was won one hill and valley at a time.

Brave and Resilient Tip #133: Eyes of faith resist looking too far ahead.

Let’s Talk

After the One Exercise for the New Year . . .

Q. Do we focus on the one thing until it’s completed and then choose another one thing? What are your thoughts about when to move on to other goals?

A. Let’s Talk! Changes are stubborn, so I trust you tied your first goal to a good hitching post! Until you see success for several weeks, I would hesitate to focus on your next New Year’s change. But! It could be helpful to start a list and begin to prioritize your “wish list” of goals if that thought doesn’t overwhelm you.

I have found that most of us resist change with every fiber of our being. We say we want to make changes and conquer many goals, but changes can die hard.

So, if your goal was an exercise program, is it really, really at a time and place you won’t resist? Is your goal tied to something else that you do regularly so you’ll have better chance of success? If your goal was more study time, is the time in a slot that doesn’t get slammed with other activities? You get the gist of how we sabotage our own desires.!

Another barrier could even be taking on another goal too soon. For example, if you chose exercise as your “one thing,” but then you throw in a new diet change, notice the result. If the second goal enhanced the first goal and didn’t discourage you (as in too much too soon)—hooray. Your second goal wasn’t too soon.

So, to answer your question: Watch your heart and watch for success. If your heart gets discouraged and you are not experiencing success, you’ve added a new goal too soon. If not, you are right on track making helpful changes to your life.

For Deeper Reflection

Is our gaze on the goal or on God? Our success comes from Him!

The enemy of our souls would wish to discourage us with even the pursuit of GOOD goals.

Joshua 1:8-9  “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

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