Archive for April, 2009

April 30, 2009

8 Barriers to communication


To deepen our love relationship with our partners and loved ones, it is necessary to know those things which interfere with the effectiveness of our communication. When there is a lack of understanding between the parties involved, it becomes very easy for barriers in communication to sprout.

1. Listening: to really listen to another means giving yourself and being willing to see the other person’s point of view without necessarily having to accept it. Words should be spoken properly and clearly and there should be listening. When you do not constantly check to make sure that you are actually hearing and understanding what the person is saying, what they mean and how they feel, a breakdown in communication may result.

2. The Use of Ambiguous Statements: if a statement sounds ambiguous to you, seek clarification and ask questions. You should realise that whether you talk, remain silent, listen or do not listen at all, you are communicating something.

In a home, ambiguity may arise from a conflict in roles; when roles are not clearly defined, conflicts in decision-making arise. When this happens, communication breaks down creating barriers to effective dialogue and even family discourse.

3. Prevarication: this is deliberately refusing to come out and say exactly what you mean. Direct and specific statements rather than generalised ones will go a long way to putting things right.

4. Conflicts: no relationship is void of conflicts. In reality, conflicts sometimes breed closeness and intimacy – if handled properly and maturely. Through the mature resolution of conflicts, a good communication channel will emerge and this will keep further conflicts from erupting into physical and emotional devastation.

In working through conflict, what this means is that a wife and her husband must be willing to hear each other’s side and patiently accept each other’s feelings no matter how vehement they both are about the differences. They should be able to arrive at particular issues or differences and then do something about them. They should learn to resolve their individual negative feelings, by calmly talking about them, and reach a compromise. Learn to accept wrong and to apologise. It costs nothing to say I am sorry, please forgive me.

5. Courtesy: this is an essential element in any relationship and particularly so in marriage. The lack of it can cause an enormous barrier. There should be mutual respect. Yelling at each other, especially in public is very counter-productive. If one person is the indiscriminate yeller, at a point the non-yeller may just stop talking and retreat in order to avoid being yelled at.

6. Avoid Assumptions and Presumptions: one of the very common problems in a marriage, and in any relationship in fact, is the assumption He knows I love him! Well, yes maybe he should know that basic fact, but what if at any point of the relationship he fails or forgets to believe that as fact? It could be something that was said, done, not said or done that would make him start to doubt the existence of your love. It does not cost anything to you and means a great deal to him to tell him how you feel. Let him know you love him, if you do of course.
7. The inability or unwillingness to discuss those “little things” that bother us. They may actually be little things and really should not matter. But so long as they matter to the other person, they should be important and matter to you as well. Make out time to discuss them. When these seemingly trivial matters are not discussed, they begin to grow and mount up, then become so oppressive that the other person becomes touchy and irritable at the slightest provocation. This does not allow for any meaningful communication.

Actually, many women would rather not discuss those “little things” because they fear their husbands’ reactions.communication-x

When one party becomes unable to discuss his/her feelings, that party gradually becomes resentful. Resentment creates a fertile breeding ground for so many other vices, including bitterness and explosive anger. When one or both parties grow resentful, they usually become defensive as well and in this state, the relationship becomes one of silence.

8. Silence: on one hand, this can enhance very good communication. On the other hand though, it could be a breakdown in communication. This depends on how the silence is used. Maybe as a lady, you have learnt to not explode in public or even draw attention to yourself when you are angry; you have learnt to keep your emotions under tight control. So when you get angry, you go silent. The result is that you discover as time goes on that you either can no longer keep quiet or you develop an ulcer, or high blood pressure. We should remind ourselves of God’s injunction in the Bible

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another; forgive each other, just as Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:30-32)

Thus far, it is easy to see that communication in itself is easy, the problem is the management. If not carefully managed, patiently with love, understanding and maturity, there can be no lasting interpersonal relationship with your husband, wife, children, friends, relations or anybody for that matter. The key to a successful relationship is its system of communication. Success and happiness in a relationship, especially in a marriage, may be measured by the deepening dialogue with each other and with God.

This is an excerpt from the book Tears of a Wife by Naomi Famonure
Copyright. Reprinted with permission.
April 28, 2009

Andrew Johnston – With One Voice


andrew-johnston

This is one of those times I wish I had an early birthday coming…or Christmas in May! (sigh)… But if you are thinking of getting me a present for any reason whatsoever (don’t worry I’m not particular) could you please, please make it Andrew Johnston’s debut album, With One Voice? The boy is incredible! And he’s only 14 too. Seriously if you do not believe me about how absolutely amazing he is, check out the tracklist on his website. Oh boy! I know, where have I been? I’m just discovering this sensation – I’m gushing I know but I’m so bowled over I’m not sure I’m quite coherent.

Know what? I think I’m moving my official birthday to May.

April 27, 2009

Something For The Week


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No one can mature and accomplish their life purpose in a vacuum. No one succeeds without the help of other people. No one learns without interaction with other people.

– Jan Silvious (Women of Faith Devotional Bible)

April 26, 2009

My Encounter with a Gigolo


A couple of weeks ago I was at Abuja (the capital city of Nigeria) for the 4th Business Law Conference organized by the Section on Business Law of the Nigerian Bar Association. Anyway, the last day was the Chairman’s dinner and it was red tie with an African touch. Everyone was looking superstar glamorous and I was not to be left out. Tottering in my six-inch heels and swaying with confidence, I made my way to the Hall of the Hotel, which was were the dinner held. The food was…well, ok; the entertainment fantastic! Even though I had no date, I was having an awesome time when I noticed this fellow staring at me from across the table.

He was dressed in an old pair of jeans and a T-Shirt that looked like it had passed through three previous owners. Did I mention that this was supposed to be a formal gathering of lawyers? And that the dress code was African? Anyway, even in Nigeria we have rebels – those who just refuse to conform so I shrugged it off and went back to being entertained.

Towards the end of the dinner party, I had to go back to my room for something . On my way back to the Congressi289818982_5918_4 Hall I got stopped by said jeans man. He asked for a minute of my time. I did not want to be rude but I was in a hurry to I told him to walk with me and say what he had to say. He began a monologue of how he saw me sitting opposite him and wanted to get to know me better and …girls, you get the drift. I was at the Hall already so I told him I needed to go in and get something from someone. When I came out again, there he was.

He walked back to the lobby with me. On our way, to make conversation, I asked him what he did. That was when he began to ramble. He said he does not like what he does and does it because he has to and bla bla bla. I cut him short and asked if he worked at all. He paused and asked me if he worked!!! I was getting exasperated and so I shrugged whatever. But I noticed he was still walking by my side. I decided to ignore it even when we got to the lobby. But by the time we got to the lift and he was still sticking to me, I began to get uneasy. Hey, do you stay here? I wanted to know. He began to hem and haw. I stopped and turned to him and asked very firmly if he stayed at the Hilton too. He kept quiet for a moment then asked if he could see me to my room. I said a resounding NO. Or at least, what I think a resounding ‘no’ would have sounded like, entered the lift and went up to my room still shaking my head.

Know what’s so funny, it was not until later that night that I realised why he had been hedging when I asked about what he did for a living. Goodness gracious! I had just met a gigolo…! I fell on my bed laughing, I could not believe such a thing would happen to me when my best friends were not there to share it with.

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April 25, 2009

Seeing With Your Heart


morguefile.com

I just read the part where Caleb in the Bible went to Joshua to ask for what was rightly his – promised to him by Moses. Something he said when staking his claim struck a chord:

“I was forty years when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me…and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart.” (Joshua 14:7 NKJV)

This reminds me of the Women of Faith song:

Open the eyes of my heart Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see you.

Too many times, we view circumstances with our mind. We see situations and try to rationalize them; it does not matter what God has promised us, we just know it is not possible. At least I know I do that. You cannot rationalize God, no matter how hard you try. He is so much bigger than whatever it is our infinitesimal minds might imagine (infinitesimal in comparison to His).

When Joshua, Caleb and the other spies went into that land as spies, two sets of people saw differently. The first set – which was the majority – saw with their mind. They saw giants and a people physically impossible to conquer. Looking at the same situation, the other set saw with their heart and what they saw was a comparison between these so-called giants and the God they knew. There was no contest.

I want to approach my life’s circumstances that way. Not so much the problem, but the proportion of the problem in relation to God. Regardless of how big or how impossible that situation looks, put it beside the One who created the universe and watch it shrink to near insignificance.

Again, there are so many promises in the Bible which God has made to his children. How come so many of us are not enjoying the benefits of those promises? Probably because we still behave like strangers to our Heavenly Father. A stranger or slave rarely demands his rights. Sometimes, we need to remind God of the promises He has made and demand them from Him – they are ours. Legitimately so.

I want to enter that state of complete assurance in the faithfulness of my Lord; that state of knowing that if He says He will do a thing, then He is definitely going to do that thing. He has promised me joy and I am going to be joyful. He promised me His grace, and I will not give Him rest until I feel that grace pervade every sphere of my life! When we do not claim what God has said is ours, what we are saying is that we did not believe Him in the first place. I need to go ask forgiveness.

April 22, 2009

Guest Blogger – Living the Christian Life


guest-bloggerSay hello to this month’s Guest Blogger! It’s the second part of Doug’s letter, this one on everyday Christian living. Read the first part here. If you like what you read, be sure to hop over to his blog and let him know how much you enjoyed reading this.

# 1 The sacred/secular myth

All of us (if we are spiritually alive) are God’s ambassadors to the world- period. As I understand the scriptures, all of us are in full time service. Some of us may be pastor/ teachers, some of us may be lawyers 😉 (justice by the way is very close to the heart of God) and some of us may be swinging a hammer for the Glory of God, but this sacred/secular distinction is a crock.

When I read the scriptures and hear Peter telling me ” but you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people…” He’s talking about the priesthood of all believers. and when Paul says ” whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” and , present your bodies as living sacrifices,….which is your spiritual worship,” that isn’t just written to those who are in “full time” ministry.

#2 Effective ministry

I have come to the conclusion after reading a multitude of books on discipleship, attending and teaching classes on evangelism that Loving people without pretense is 95 % of effective ministry…know the correct verses to quote is the other 5%. I do not like it when I sense someone is reaching out to me with ulterior motives..so I refuse to do that to the people in my life.

I call it having a “scalp mentality” In the days of the wild wild west in America, the goal of the the native Americans was to see how many “scalps” they could collect. If I sense a pastor (or anyone for that matter) is looking to add me as a notch on his belt then I am not interested in what he is pushing…if they are not interested in me as a person..then who needs to feel used?

#3 Evangelism

Evangelism is a process…it is not just “harvesting” (getting someone saved) It is also tilling the soil (building bridges and relationships into their life) , planting spiritual seeds, watering spiritual seeds and sometimes harvesting . When we pressure people into making a premature “decision” it’s like trying to induce a woman to go into labor before she’s full term.

#4 Transparency

I believe we are more credible when we are willing to admit we don’t always have it all together. If I’m struggling with some life issue..I will not pretend I have it all together…I remember at one point, where we were beside ourselves as parents as our kids began hitting the teen years- I told this guy who was not a believer, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Would you believe that actually made me more credible in his eyes?

Don’t get me started on Christians wearing masks 🙂 When I am around people who always have this fake smile pasted on their face they give me the creeps.

#5 Evil

I believe all of us are capable of committing all sorts of evil. If someone says to themselves…”I would never do such and such” then I believe the devil has already greased their slide. If King David, a man after God’s own heart, took another man’s wife and eventually had him killed, then you and I are also capable of anything.

#6 Mentors

– I’ve had several, mostly in the form of good authors. Some of the mentors/ books that have the biggest impact on my life include: Charles Swindol. Dropping Your Guard, Strike the Original Match, Corrie Ten Boom, Brother Andrew and Wilkerson (The Cross and The Switchblade) all tell stories from their lives about how God is as active today as he was in the book of Acts. A. W. Tozer’s book The Pursuit of God impacted me deeply and finally Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Church where he articulates what real spiritual maturity looks like. Spiritual maturity is not just cramming my head full of Bible Trivia. Knowledge (while key) is only one sliver of spiritual maturity. The last thing many Christians need to be in is another “Bible Study” or workshop- we need an outlet for the wealth of truth we already know…or we become like the dead sea, always taking in but no overflow, and we wonder why we are spiritually stagnant.

#7 People skills-

You’d think with as much space the Bible devotes to getting along with people Christians would be masters at knowing how to relate to people, how we speak, honor,and love…but that is often not the case. A book (thoroughly rooted in scripture) that helped me in this area is the book by Dale Carnigee “How To Win Friends and Influence People” I can just see the eye rolls (if someone other than yourself ever reads this letter) -especially the more hard core “Bible only” crowd who will only read the Bible..they won’t pick up any other book because according to that school of thought, the bible has everything we need if we just read it.” To them I would ask…how many non-believing friends do you have in your life- or have you burnt all your relationship bridges by now and see this as being persecuted for righteousness sake? Try telling that to Christ on the day of judgment when he asks you why you had such little impact on your culture.

#8 Balance

We are in it for the long haul. I’m not a runner, but I know enough to know, if a person expects to make it to the end of the course, they better pace themselves, that means to me, “burning out for the Glory of God” and burning the candle @ both ends of my life for ministry is just plain stupid. Jesus took time to go to weddings, dinners in peoples homes, quiet times by himself to keep his bearings. A caring Christian can very easily fall into the trap of being a work-a-haulic in the name of dying to self…Our ministry can then become just another way we think we can earn God’s approval and living in the flesh.
I regularly take naps (now) w/o guilt, host live musical events as a way of reaching others, blog, tend an apple orchard, run a bed and breakfast and a plethora of other things to give my life balance. I can assure you, I see way more spiritual fruitfulness now in my life than I ever did when I darkened the door of my local church 4 times a week and was too burnt out to reach out to other people…just my humble opinion 😉

#9 The Gospel

The word gospel, as I’m sure you know literally means good news. I believe as I am in relationship with God, then his life is flowing through me. The Gospel is not just “Hell insurance”….the gospel is Jesus Christ living his life through me….just as in the Old testament when the presence of God came down and inhabited the tabernacle in the wilderness, and later Solomon’s temple…now that same presence , in theory anyway dwells in this cracked pot, these earthen vessels of you and I.

#10 Sense of humor/and joy

A Christian who evidences a sense of humor and joy is a rarity, and such a powerful tool in the hands of God in drawing people unto himself. Ask yourself- How many truly joyful Christians do you know? Why are they so rare? When I read the accounts of Jesus and how normal non religious types wanted to be around him, I get the sense he was a fun to be around…who had trouble with that? the religious leaders. Who did he have conflicts with? the religious leaders

It is possible to maintain and cultivate a sense of humor in the midst of a broken world. @ one point in our family, when all hell was breaking loose again, I was standing in the Dr’s office as the Dr suggested another one of our kids should be on zoloft. (it’s an anti-depressant) I started laughing- it was either that or go crazy…I asked if it was possible to get a volume discount 🙂

If you would like to do a 'Guest Blogger' post,
just leave a comment here and I will get back to you.