Hold Space (Bite Your Tongue)

Our Bible study leader told us not to give each other advice during small-group discussions.

I liked the experience. Would you?

Refraining from counseling/advising/citing scripture/quoting Christian clichés holds space open for Holy Spirit (The Counselor) to be heard. Holding space prevents others from trying to “rescue” the person who shared a deep hurt or struggle.

When people – with well-meaning, loving intentions – try to rescue me, sometimes they’re saying something I’ve thought or heard already, something that doesn’t fit, something that addresses the facts, but not the soul and emotions; or they’re telling their own story.

I remember when a group member advised another, who’d uncovered her heartache, that she should pray more often. As you can imagine, she shut down.

What helps is Christians hearing us and being with us as we are.

What would our growth groups, family discussions, chats with friends, time with a terminally ill parent, and other encounters feel like if we would Hold Space, that is, not jump in and give advice? (Of course, if someone asks, “What should I do?” or harm is imminent, do not hold your tongue.)

“What does it mean to ‘hold space’ for someone else?

It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.” Full article at http://upliftconnect.com/hold-space/

Posted in family, family problems, fixers, healing, hold space, Holy spirit, intimacy, marital problems, mens group, relationships, wisdom | Tagged | Leave a comment

Grow-Your-Own Proverbs

Here’s a sampling of my Life Group’s home-grown proverbs. Below those, is the prompt you can use if you’d like to write some of your own.

  • He who talks but never listens will soon be talking to himself.
  • Your thoughts, when written out, will live beyond your years.
  • A mother’s strong words spoken in love will push you up.
  • The love of a father shapes his child’s heart.
  • A creative heart is a well-spring of God’s love.
  • A fool only understands more foolishness.
  • A lazy person sees conspiracies everywhere to justify his idleness.
  • A timely, sincere apology heals two hearts.
  • Good motives do not expunge evil deeds.

Prompt: List 3 people who’ve positively influenced you, 3 who are/were thorns in your side and then list 3 pivotal decisions you’ve made in your life. Write your own proverbs inspired by those people and your decisions.

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Reason Rant

Let’s say something unexpected and unpleasant has happened to you.  Someone says, “Things always happen for a reason.”

Is that a comfort to you? Or an annoying platitude? How do you respond to it?

Things always happen for a reason.

You mean like that time your dog ran off and got hit by a truck on Rt. 30?

Things always happen for a reason.

OK, great! Let’s go shopping.

Things always happen for a reason.

Is that a physics law or your demonstration of all-knowingness?

Things always happen for a reason.

Who said that, Shakespeare or Jesus – had to be one of those guys, right?

Things always happen for a reason.

So, um, what was the reason?

Things always happen for a reason.

CAUSE is what makes something happen. REASON is the explanation people give for why something is done.

Things always happen for a reason.

No, things don’t always happen for a reason. In the process of redeeming it, the event receives a reason.





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Too Old to Cry

At age twelve, Zekie was too old to be seen holding his mother’s hand. He wrenched his palm from her grip and ran ahead to listen to Jesus again.

Zekie’s mother wagged her finger. “Stay with me!”

He knew he should honor her with obedience, but Zekie climbed up on the stone wall of a livestock pen to get a good view. His mother joined other women clustered near the public well.

Dust clouds hovered above the crowd’s heads. From his vantage point, Zekie was eyelevel with people leaning out of second story windows, straining to hear what the rabbi was saying this time.

All Zekie could make out over the racket was, “I tell you the truth….” That’s what the boy loved about Jesus. Jesus spoke truth. A new truth.

A wind kicked up, driving odors of household waste residents had tossed into the street.

Suddenly, a man strode through the crowd, shoving people aside. A wedge of rabble rousers murmuring “crucify him” and officials brandishing swords and clubs followed in his wake. Dogs snarled at their heels, donkeys brayed, chickens protested as though a predator were terrorizing the coop.

The man drew himself up nose-to-nose with Jesus. He bellowed, “Rabbi!” kissed Jesus, and recoiled as if stung by scorpions.

Silence befell the crowd. The only sound: wind sighing in the olive trees.

Guards grabbed Jesus.

Zekie yelled, “Run, Jesus! Break away, Jesus!”

Jesus didn’t resist.

But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.

Zekie instinctively touched his own ear.

Jesus shouted, “No more of this!” He touched the slave and reattached his ear, with no traces of blood or scar.

Above the tumult, Zekie heard Jesus ask, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me?  Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there among you teaching every day. But these things are happening to fulfill what the Scriptures say about me.”

Then all His disciples deserted him and ran away. One young man following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt. When the mob tried to grab him, he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked.

Zekie’s mother rushed to her son’s side. He told her, “Jesus stuck a man’s ear back on after it was sliced off!”

“Don’t lie, Zekie.”

Out of the corner of his eye, he watched men lead Jesus toward the high court. Even Zekie knew lies, many lies would be told there, anything to get rid of Jesus.

“Why do they want to kill Jesus?” he asked his mother.

She buried her face in her sleeve and sobbed.

If he were still a little boy, he too would have sobbed into his sleeve. Zekie took his mother’s hand in his and led her away.

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Touching Your Robe

Human: By my faith, I am healed. Jesus, Son of David, heal me!

Satan: Get real. If he didn’t pluck the thorn from Paul’s side, why would he heal you?

Wisdom: God is no respecter of persons.

Human: Right! The people Jesus healed in the Bible weren’t Christians. Yet.

Satan: If you have strong faith, why are you seeing doctors, alternative health care experts and gulping shovels of supplements?

Wisdom: Everything in its time.

Satan: Dang, you serve a cruel Master.

Human: Sometimes it seems that way.

Wisdom: Have faith. God hears, God knows. A greater healing will come from this. Something you haven’t thought of. God’s thoughts are higher than yours.

Satan: You’ll be dead when you find out what the higher thought was.

Human: I’ll be with God. What more could I ask for?

Satan: Big deal.

Wisdom: Yes, big deal. Salvation for faith. Sins forgotten. Grace unmerited given.

Human: Thank you, Jesus.



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Shut Up! A true story

Shut Up!

The only other time her mother acts like this is when Daddy’s away and three women come over to play bridge. Then, from her bed, the child can hear the ladies jabbering and cackling like strange jungle birds.

Usually, her mother is reserved and distant, unless it’s to tell somebody to dry the dishes or go play outside.

Now, here in Grandma’s living room, her mother and some of her mom’s old childhood friends aren’t playing cards, but they may as well be, the way their laughter ricochets off the wallpaper.

Grandma’s living room is gloomy, even on this sultry summer evening. Dark wood furniture, a giant fern shedding dead leaves onto the scratchy sofa, and yellowed drapes smelling of attic press in on her.

Observing her mother chatter and giggle is like watching a snake play the xylophone. Mesmerizing and menacing.

A surge of laughter pierces the air, startling the girl. They’re looking expectantly at her.

“Are you ready for school?” the grinning woman with pointy shoes is asking.

The question is an impossible riddle. When you’re six, there’s nothing to do to get ready. You just wait for September, wait at the bus stop, wait for the bell to ring and so on.

The woman’s Avon grin wilts. The air thickens, shrinks, hurts. Shrill laughter explodes around the girl.

“Shut up!” She knows she said it because her cheek stings where Mommy’s hand landed.

“Go upstairs.”

Deeply embarrassed and grateful to be released, she obeys her mother.

Lying awake in Grandma’s spare bedroom, she hears their noises slither up the stairway and under the door. She was as astonished as everyone else was when those words erupted from her without forethought or warning. She’s awed at the impact her words had.

She’s afraid, but it’s not the dark that scares her.

Proverbs 13:3 “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” 

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They’re already here

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