The Illusion of Cliques

“That church has so many cliques.”

“No one said hello to me….again.”

“People are so selfish!”

These are all things I have heard over and over again in my 15 years of being involved in ministry.

I am hoping to encourage you lonely folks out there by giving you a different perspective.

I went to college in Northern California. I became a believer in Junior College and my first goal when I hit the campus at a “real college” was to get plugged in to a church, preferably one full of college students. I found one! They met on campus on Sundays and I couldn’t wait to go.

I walked in eager to have all these people flocking to me to make me feel welcomed. Um… nobody talked to me. I walked in and out without meeting a soul.

I went back. This time my heart was different. This time I would initiate. And that’s ok. Ya know why? They were like a family already. Some of these people had known each other for years and I couldn’t expect to walk in and be on the same level as them.

So, I introduced myself to numerous people. I did the same the next week. Sometimes to the same people who “forgot my name”. So I re-introduced myself a few weeks in a row. I didn’t quit going and get mad at the cliques. I kept pursuing friendship. I kept telling people my name. I kept going to all the things the church had to offer so that my face went from being unfamiliar to familiar. I went from being unknown to known.

But guess what? I still never really felt like I was part of the in-crowd. Nope. And guess what? I think I have a pretty good idea of why and it’s not because there were so many cliques. Nope. It’s because I was controlling and talked about myself too much.

Marriage has a way of helping us to get rid of some of our rough edges. Suddenly many of the character flaws that no one had the guts to tell me had come to the surface because a spouse has to live with those flaws and they are certainly worth confronting.

As a side note, my husband and I are very purposeful in training our children on how to not be annoying. We tell them when certain behaviors and actions are obnoxious. We tell them we want them to be well-liked and have lots of friends. That’s the loving thing to do. 

I for one am thankful for the iron sharpening iron aspect of marriage. My controlling, manipulative nature along with the propensity to talk too much was finally confronted and I am able to see more clearly that the cliques I thought existed were actually an illusion. There was a reason that a certain number of friends of mine were part of the “in -crowd”.

When I look back at those friends I notice some things that they had in common: they asked people questions like: “how are you doing?” and they really wanted to know! They listened well. The didn’t dominate. They weren’t restless. They enjoyed each other and served one another. They stuck around through awkward silence and just hung out.

I can’t help but wonder if some people feel lonely because others don’t have the guts to tell them they don’t want to hang out with them.

I know that was me for years and years and I am thankful for the people who have loved me enough to say: “Katie, it’s not them, it’s you.”

One time I ordered a “household meeting” with my roommates in college. We were going to “get it all out on the table” and tell each other what we really thought so that we could be honest. I let one of my roommates go first and she said to me: “Katie, I hate to come to you with my problems because you lecture me and don’t listen.” I did the mature, godly thing any woman who wants to grow would do: I walked out of the room and got into my car and drove off… um, yeah, so clearly I am amazing at receiving criticism.

We would all do well to listen to others’ criticism and seek to change. That’s the way we grow. If we want people to want to be around us we have to be open to growth and change even if the truth of how we need to change is super painful.

So here are some types of women I know drive people away. Sincerely seek the Lord and see if you fit into one or more of these types and ask the Lord to help you change.

Snarky Susie: This woman is always full of sarcasm. Nothing can ever be taken seriously. All of life is a big joke to her. Continue reading The Illusion of Cliques

7 Ways To Always Be Offended

It seems some of us wake up looking for ways to be offended. I know I struggle with it! Here are the 7 ways I have found that make it quick and easy to be offended.

offended

1. Insist that EVERYONE view the world through your eyes. Forget that everyone is different. Forget that everyone comes from a different back ground and are at different places in life. Insist that they see everything from your point of view.

2. Don’t be open to any opinion that differs from yours. Especially ones that you can only back up with: “This is what I have always believed” or “this is how I was raised”. If you do this you will surely succeed at being offended. Refuse to be teachable.

3. Take every difference of opinion personally. Tell yourself that everyone is out to get you and the fact that they see things differently is because they hate your guts and are on a mission to ruin your life.

4. See it as your main goal in life to change the views of others. Scratch this verse out of your bible: “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands.” (1 Thess. 4:11) Instead make it your ambition to lead a loud life, never minding your own business or working with your hands. Make it your ambition to get all people to conform to your opinions. Continue reading 7 Ways To Always Be Offended

Why Our Family Doesn’t Say The Sinner’s Prayer

sinnersprayerThere is a message out there in modern day Christianity that screams: “You must have a day and time that you ‘invited Jesus into your heart’ to know when you were officially saved.” But according to Christ, what we MUST do is be born again (John 3:3-7). We must be a new creation in which there is evidence of the old passing away and God making all things new. That’s what I want to teach my kids.

I remember at the age of 19 knowing the Holy Spirit was working mightily in my life… calling me out of this world and beckoning me to become a true child of God. I answered His call and I was born again. I never said the sinner’s prayer. I simply repented and turned from my old life to my new life in Christ.  I don’t recall an exact time and place that I “officially became a Christian.” But I know that I am born again.

Children are fickle and the bible says foolishness is bound up in their hearts (prov. 22:15). I have been at many vbs programs where the children “come forward and say the sinners prayer” and it’s a lot of the same children that came forward the year before… are they getting saved again? That is one of the dangerous pitfalls in circles that I have seen where the sinner’s prayer is mandatory. So much confidence wrapped up in a few words. This man testifies to those sorts of dangers here. So much confidence wrapped up in a few words. Continue reading Why Our Family Doesn’t Say The Sinner’s Prayer

5 Ways To NOT Hate Your Husband

wedding
Scott and I on our wedding day! We were married August 5, 2006.

Scott and I will be married for 10 years this coming August! 10 wonderful, stretching, growing, fun, exhausting, loving years.

Around our anniversary I often contemplate where we are at in our marriage and what I need to work on. We should never stop looking for ways to grow as a spouse and to be more of what God has called us to be.

5wayhusband

My anniversary also makes me look at the marriages around me. Especially the ones that have been married many more years than us. They seem to fall into one of two categories: either sweet, comfortable, safe and loving or bitter, apathetic and cold.

We are daily laying the groundwork for what kind of marriage we will have in 5, 10, 20, 30 years. We are deciding daily through our thoughts and actions if we want to grow to be better spouses or bitter spouses.

How would you describe your marriage? Is it cold? Are you more like roommates than lovers? Do you offer a safe place for your spouse to come to when discouraged or hurting? Are you united, living as one flesh? Are you bitter and angry or content and thankful? 

None of us WANTS to be in a bitter marriage but unfortunately many of us find ourselves in one. I want to share with you five things that will help you to not be bitter in your marriage and hate your husband.

5 ways to NOT hate your husband:

1. Remember that marriage was never about you and your happiness. Marriage has always been for something much bigger and greater than your happiness. As we yield to God’s work in our hearts through marriage we are able to be sanctified and become more like Christ. Marriage is for Him and His glory, not you and your wants.

2. Focus on your faults, not his. Too many women are bitter because they take all their husband’s faults/annoying habits and put them under a microscope. They study their husband’s faults like a student studying to become a lawyer. They wake up daily and are irritated before their feet even hit the floor in the morning because their mind is filled with everything their husband does wrong.

3. Don’t try and change him. You know how hard it is to change you right? I mean, how many of us want to be more gentle, more forgiving, have more self-control etc? All of us. We all want to grow and change. If it’s hard for you to make yourself change how much harder is it to change someone else? As much as we want to be in control of our husbands and their behavior, we are not. We are not the Holy Spirit. The less we seek to change our spouse the happier we will be.  Continue reading 5 Ways To NOT Hate Your Husband

If My Child Ever Says: “I’m Gay”

ifmy child

The other day on Facebook one of my friends shared a video and the caption read: “‘What did you think when I told you I was gay?’ Some laughs and hugs are shared between fathers and their kids.”

The video was heartwarming and sweet… and filled with the way my flesh would want to respond if my child ever said: “Mom, I’m gay.” But I don’t live by the flesh.

“So I say walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh craves what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary the flesh. They are opposed to one another.” Galatians 5:16-17

You see, it breaks my heart to picture having that conversation with my child because my flesh wants to respond like these parents did saying things like: “Just be who you are.” or “I always knew you were gay, I’m glad you are finally coming out and letting everyone officially know.” or “It’s your choice.”

But here’s the deal, if my child came to me and said: “Mom, I’m a liar and I am going to fully accept that and embrace it because it’s how I was born.” or “Mom, I am a thief, always have been always will be and there’s no sense fighting it any longer.” or “Mom, I’m a drunk. I crave alcohol day and night and I’m tired of struggling against it. It’s time for me to come out as the drunkard I am and be proud of it!” If one of my children said anything like that to me I would be crushed because what they are saying to me is: “Mom, I am no longer going to fight my flesh or live by the Spirit. I am going to fully gratify my fleshly desires and everything it craves. I no longer will die to self and seek to walk by the Spirit. I am choosing to not live for Christ but for myself. ”  Continue reading If My Child Ever Says: “I’m Gay”

What Is The World Coming To?!

We often hear things like:
  • “What is the world coming to?!”
  • “Things were so much better and safer in the ‘good ole days’.”
I am not sure this is true. Have you read the book of Judges? Genesis? Have you read history books?
I think the issue is that our hearts were not made to know about such sadness and sin and death happening all over the world all at once.
Imagine you didn’t have a cell phone, the Internet, home phone, television, or computer. Imagine you just lived in your town, on your block, or out in your field with only knowledge of local town gossip or tragedy (picture Little House on the Prairie). How much “terrible news” would you be bombarded with daily?
I can tell you what I would have heard so far today if I didn’t have access to all those electronics/the news: *crickets chirping*

Continue reading What Is The World Coming To?!