Episode 18 of the Say That podcast is up!
We talk about what to look for when visiting a church, tattoos, and qualities to look for in a romantic partner.
Matt, are you familiar with Dean Sherman? I’m going through his Love, Sex, and Relationships series and he was talking about how some things we do can damage our will. I found out where my will is weakest: my ex girlfriend. Every time things get rough, I go back to thinking about her. We never had sex, but man, I start missing her really bad. I get all these negative thoughts that keep me away from God and distract me from what’s important. How do I deal with it? I need to let go and heal.
I am not familiar with Mr. Sherman or his work. So I can’t really speak to what lense you might be putting on this thing based on his writing, but I think we can take this thing on at face value.
It is totally understandable that your mind drifts back to your ex when things are not going so well. Now this is reading between the lines, and forgive me if I am wrong, but I am betting that by “things get rough” you at least partly mean when you are feeling lonely. Again, this is a totally natural and understandable reaction. If you are not happy with the way a certain area of your life is going, then one of the mind’s defenses is to wander back to a time when you were happy with that area of your life.
Now, the problem with that is two-fold. First, you probably weren’t as blissful as you recall being. This person is your ex for a reason, whether that is you ended it with them or they didn’t want to be in a relationship with you (and you don’t actually want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t like you equally). So you are seeing things through the rose tinted glasses of hindsight. That isn’t super healthy because it might make actual relationships in the present, with their inevitable headaches and risks, seem like they can just never be as good as the imagined past.
The other way this might be messing you up is that you are spending too much time thinking about the past to spend any time thinking about the future. You seem to indicate this is the case in your question. So there is an easy fix to that: get some stuff to be excited about now and in the future. Start a project, or start up with a new ministry, or even ask out a new girl who want to get to know. The thing about these kind of distracting thought is that they tend to fill negative space.
To be clear, I am not saying you should just make yourself busy so that you never have time to think, that is not healthy. But you might take a look at what sparks your imagination and puts some fire under your rear end and start focusing on that. If you start pursuing an active, service oriented life; I am willing to bet that you won’t have room for things that are hindering that , including thoughts of your ex.
-Matt from The Bridge
Hello! So in September I joined a Bible study at college and fully committed myself to Jesus in February =) Growing up, I believed in God, but had no idea what it was like to have a relationship with Him, and this year I have began to start that relationship. Many people in my Bible study have talked about keeping prayer journals and I’ve talked to a couple girls who have explained them to me, but I am still unsure what things should be put in there and what they are for. Can you help me out?
First of all, congratulations on making that commitment to the Lord. Welcome to being a Christian. Some of the folks are pretty weird, but most of them mean well.
Prayer journals are one of the many great tools that people use to aid them in their walk with Jesus. Like most of those tools, prayer journals are not one size fits all. The short answer to your question is: you can put whatever you want in there and use it for whatever you want. There is no wrong way to pray or journal if it helps you in your walk.
I understand that “anything” isn’t always a helpful answer, so let’s look at some suggestions (but not hard and fast rules) for prayer journals. A journal is a great venue for brutal honesty with God about what is going on in your life. Even with close friends, you may not always want to totally vent about your deep feelings towards and about God. It is, however, valuable to get it out and a journal is a great place to do that. A journal is a place for conversations between just you and God. It also allows you to go back and see how those feelings and situations have changed over time and see.
Another way people use journals is to jot down notes about things they learn during bible studies and personal reading. That way you have a central place for all those thoughts, and you can see how something you learned started to help your prayers. You also have something to refer back to if you have a similar problem, or have something that might help someone else.
One of the coolest uses for a prayer journal that I have ever heard of is a friend of mine who starts everyday by writing down five things he found in the scriptures that he is thankful for. This particular brother struggles with having joy, so this exercise gets him on the right page for his day.
That is the main point. A prayer journal is for you, to help in your growing relationship with Jesus. So you should try stuff and see what works for you.
-Matt from The Bridge
Your life is not a romantic comedy. I think a lot of people are modeling life on movies they see where the girl acts disinterested for two hours and then something massively changes. If there is someone in your life and you both love Jesus and like spending time together, I think you owe it to yourself to take a shot.
– Jed Brewer on episode 17 of the Say That podcast
My father and mother are both christians and I really think they are more than just ‘religious people’. They truly follow God. So, when there is trouble at home, like money or health, they’d pray and ask for His direction. But this time it seems that they are getting different answers from God. How can 2 christians, when asking Him the same question have different answers? Is that even possible? Or one of them is not ‘truly christian’ as I thought? Ps. Eg of question: should we sell our home?
It is definitely possible for two Christians to ask God a question and get different answers. It’s a difficult thing to get to what that means and why that is. The scripture is clear that no one can fully know the mind of God and why He does what He does and when.
What we can say with confidence is what this doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean that one of your parents doesn’t actually love Jesus. It doesn’t mean that someone has some secret sin that is rendering their prayers ineffective. There is no direct proportion of holiness to getting what you ask for in prayer. We all have Jesus acting as our mediator and we can all come to God on the same footing because of what Jesus did on the cross. In Luke 18, Jesus tells the parable of the tax collector and the sinner and actually points out that prayer doesn’t work the way we sometimes think, as a reward for good behavior.
I am not married, but I have many friends who are and I asked them about this type of situation. And the consensus of what it means is: go back and ask again until there is an agreement. There might need to be discussion to make sure that both people are asking the same question, and are really open to whatever answer comes down, but it might just be a case of the Lord asking for patience and persistence.
-Matt from The Bridge
There are things about predestination and free will that I will never understand. But those questions don’t keep me up at night. What keeps me up at night is: does God love me? Does He have a plan and purpose for my life? Does He know how badly my wounds hurt? And the answer to those questions is: yes.
Jed Brewer on Episode 17 of Say That