Just Eat the Frog

I was having one of those conversations with my wife and son. We were talking about something that someone did that would precipitate a difficult conversation. Granted, I wasn’t excited about having this conversation with someone I love, but some actions left unresolved can begin to destroy a relationship. The actions themselves may not destroy the relationship, but not resolving the issues creates a slippery slope that could.

 

So, in the midst of this conversation, my son blurts out, “Dad, you just have to eat the frog”! I said, “What in the world does that mean”? He went on to disclose to me that his boss, a long time good friend of mine, had recently shared this relational golden nugget with him.

 

Here it is.

 

If someone handed you a live frog and informed you that you had to eat it, how would you begin? Would you lick it to death? Or maybe you would start with the head or its legs? Would you dose it first with salt? How would you eat the frog?

 

My friend said; when you have to have a difficult conversation, don’t delay. Eat the frog. Just plop it in your mouth and get it over with. His perspective is that the more he thinks about the eventual conversation, the more anxious, or worked up he is going to get going into the meeting. One of two things happens at this point. We either experience paralysis by analysis (we over think it and decide to do nothing), or, we envision several possible painful outcomes. When this happens we go into the conversation EXPECTING one of those painful outcomes and at the first sign that one is developing, we jump to the final conclusion and PREDETERMINE the outcome of the discussion.

 

My friends advice; just eat the frog. Pull the person aside as soon as possible, and ask the hard question. It will save you days of anxious inner talk that will predispose you to possible failure.

 

Don’t delay. Eat the frog.frog6

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Relational Advice from Moses

I have a friend who wants to know God more, not about God more; but to know Him. Intimate relationships take time and lots of heartfelt communication. But, she doesn’t seem to have an awareness of His presence or be able to recognize His voice among the thousands that seem to occupy all of our brains. Recently, she said to me that not everyone hears God like I seem to. She said I must be some kind of Moses or something.

 

Well, no. I am not Moses and I do not have special powers that no one else has. I do have a trained ear that is getting better and better at hearing His voice (not audibly, though that is biblical). The more intimate you are with someone the more trained your ear is to hear what they are saying. And the Bible tells us that sometimes God speaks in a still small voice.

 

So, this morning I spent about five hours studying for a sermon that involved Moses and I noticed several things about his relationship with God. Moses had a unique experience that I don’t think another human being has ever had. Moses got to a place where his face would shine with God’s glory after he spent time with God. Moses began to look like God, or at least reflect His glory.

 

relationship development

 

There is an old saying; folks who have been married a long time, start looking like one another.

 

The shine didn’t happen the first time they met. It happened after repeated conversations and after a 40-day period of prayer and fasting on the mountain. He comes down and his face is shining and everyone is uncomfortable and he has to cover his face when he talks to Israel. Nowhere in scripture does it ever say that the shine went away.

 

What can we learn about developing intimacy with God (and other people) from Moses?

 

Talk regularly even when the mountain is on fire and your afraid. Long-term sacrifices (40 days of fasting) do produce relational rewards. Moses pitched a tent outside the camp and he called it the “Tent of Meeting”. Anytime Moses wanted to talk to God, he would go out there and God would show up. Have a special place where you and God meet. My wife and I have special places that mean something to us. I also have a few places where God likes to meet me. So; talk a bunch, make appropriate sacrifices, and find a special spot. It works for people and God. For more info go to http://www.newcovenantchurch.com/resources/media/sermons/tablets-of-testimony.html

 

 

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Two Big Relational Sins

What I know about relationships, I have had to learn. It did not come to me naturally.

 

Having said that, there are two BIG relational sins that I have witnessed. The first one I like to call, THE BIG MISTAKE. The big mistake may be an affair. It might be an addiction that destroys a friendship, or even an unethical financial decision that destroyed a partnership. Big mistakes can cost us greatly and one of those costs can be the death of a relationship.

 

The second BIG relational sin is starving the relationship by not investing in it. This is the number one reason people come in for marriage counseling. They just don’t nurture the relationship, and then over time there is no relationship. The kids grow up. One party changes. Or, somebody decides they aren’t doing this for another 20 years.

 

I have seen couples that were so in love with one another. But, when things go south, they fight in such a matter that it destroys everything they built up in the good season. If they could minimize their blowups, they would have a world-class marriage. But, periodically they give back everything they have built in one big fight.

 

I am a firm believer that people do change, but, we grow best in an environment that is supportive for growth. We are energized by people who can recognize who we are, celebrate that uniqueness and cheer for us to be our best. When we do life with Math_Couplepeople who don’t celebrate us, who take us for granted, we sometimes stop competing. Who makes you want to be your best? Whose affirmation means more to you than any others? Who are you celebrating?

 

Tina and I have always told our sons, “Never date a girl that doesn’t celebrate you. If she doesn’t see your unique genius and celebrate it now, there is little hope she will when the hard times of marriage come”.

 

Tina has always believed that I was someone rare and noteworthy (even when we were teenagers). She believes that I am a better version of myself than I really am. But, her believing that makes me want to become that person. We all need someone in our lives like that. I pray that you find that, and it is multiplied to you in your friendships.

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