My Apologies

Have you ever been given an apology? Have you ever apologized? We apologize to smooth things out with someone who is advantageous to us. We apologize to save face; to try and protect or preserve our reputation. We apologize because we are in trouble and we’re trying to get out of it or at least minimize the damage. A genuine apology from a repentant, humbled, heart is rare.

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We apologize from our own selfishness so often we don’t recognize when we are doing it or when someone is doing it to us. In fact, fake apologies sound pretty good if you don’t think to hard about them. So what’s the difference? It helps if you have or hang out with kids – they are fake apology experts!  If you haven’t had the pleasure of that experience, here are some tips for adult fake apologies.

The major giveaway of a fake apology is there is an emphasis what the offender wants. “Oh baby, I JUST WANT YOU BACK.” “It BOTHERED ME that I didn’t get to say sorry.” “I JUST NEEDED TO GET THIS OFF MY CHEST.” So basically, there is little regard for the one offended; what’s important is that the offender gets what they are after.

Beyond the selfish emphasis (do you really need more?), there are a few other tell tale signs: a lack of sincerity, passive-aggressive comments, guilting the offended person, self-pity, and usually flattery.

Now, please apologize to yourself for trying to use fake apologies to get your way. We’re all guilty and we need to forgive ourselves so we can grow out of it. If you’re ready, how can you start giving genuine apologies?

 

You start by acknowledging your offence. Wait a second, he said he was sorry for hurting me – it must be genuine! Not so fast. A genuine acknowledgement will spell out the offence. In fact, if the offender is vague or dismissive regarding what they have done, that’s a big red flag they are not actually repentant – they are still the same person!!

The next step is the apology. Sincere, heartfelt, humble. No self-pity or guilting and most importantly, the focus is on the one offended.  Compare: “I apologize for the harm I caused you” vs. “I just need to say I’m sorry.”

Finally, there is making amends. A fake apology will not include amends (watch out for things that sounds like amends such as “how can I make you like me again?”) Making amends is scary, requires vulnerability and humility. That’s why most people go for the fake apology instead.  Making amends goes like this: “How can I make amends for what I did?” Then the offender shuts up, listens, and acts on the information provided. An offender giving a genuine apology will follow the offended person’s instructions and timeline. There is no rush just to smooth things over; it recognizes that wounds take time to heal. This is the loving way.

Now, go apologize to someone.

 

 

What Not to Say on a First Date

I was going through my files and I came across these tips. My note says these are “First Date Conversation No-No’s” given by people on the front lines of dating and excerpted from “Dating: A Survival Guide from the Frontlines” by Josey Vogels.

What not to talk about on a first date:

• “Diseases or illnesses, obsessive behavior, friends in jail.”
• “Exes.”
• “Medical problems that mean you can’t have children.”
• “Bodily functions.”
• “Details about failed personal relationships.”
• “How much you hate your family.”
• “How you were dumped by all your former girl/boyfriends.”
• “Politics, religion or sexuality.”
• “Family problems.”
• “Your favorite sexual positions.”
• “Dead cats, negative ideas.”
• “Cars. (Unless you’re date is a car freak too, car talk is boring!)
• “How much money you make or spend.”
• “Financial difficulties.”
• “How I should run my life, according to you!”

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Anybody want to confess a “Oh no, you went there” moment?

Who Am I?

My mother instilled in me a sense of fairness and equity. Not so much with bold declarations but with quiet actions, affirmations and her work. She left in me a belief that all are equal regardless of status, colour, or gender. That’s who I am.

My belief was amplified when I woke up to God’s love in 1998. I have come to know and trust Jesus who became the ultimate outsider to seek and save those who had been cast aside, the not good enoughs. As a definite not good enough who knows God’s complete love and acceptance, how can I not extend the same to others by seeking to include rather than exclude? That’s who I am.

In the organization I serve, I’m an intern on a career path towards being ordained. Ordination doesn’t change the work we do in a hugely significant way and it doesn’t give us super powers rather it’s about becoming an officially recognized professional. This path typically takes 7-10 years – consisting of education, field work, and regular evaluations – and, even after all that time, there is no guarantee one will even be considered for ordination. While we don’t like to get into status and such things, you can probably appreciate that there is a sense that ordination is “arriving” and one who is ordained is the preferred choice when it comes to placements; it increases opportunities and opens doors.

My name has come up for consideration. I should be elated. The problem is, about five years ago, I clued in that some of my co-workers, no matter how qualified they are, are not offered ordination. Instead, they are offered commissioning – basically an intern with ordination salary and vacation time. Those who are commissioned, like an intern, are restricted from certain tasks and positions that can only be done by those who have been ordained. Why are they commissioned instead of ordained? They’re women.

At the end of my interview, I was asked if I had any questions. I expressed my concerns about the inequality among us and asked how can I in good conscience accept a recognition that is denied to equally capable (actually superior) colleagues simply on the basis of gender? Who am I?

The next day, I was asked if instead of ordination, would I prefer commissioning.*

Would I choose ordination, what I have been working towards for years? It’s what my family and friends have been hoping for. It’s the recognition that people respect; it is often a specific employment requirement in certain areas.

Would I choose commissioning and stand with those on the outside of ordination? This choice will disappoint many. Some may even look down on me and not want to work with me. It may mean reduced employment opportunities.

After great deal of prayer, I made my choice. I know who I am.

 

*In our territory our leadership is very supportive of women in ministry however, they are abiding by the the international decision concerning ordination and commissioning. Some territories have sought to address this matter in different ways with varying results.

 

The “Prove Yourself” Society

Another great insight from Beauty Beyond Bones.

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Are you sitting down?

Because I’ve got some news.

OK, maybe I’m building it up a little much. #guilty

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But guys, The SAT’s are changing.

I know. High school me is legit wigging out on the inside.

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The essay — optional. Calculators — banned for parts of it. Vocabulary — less obscure and more “workplace-oriented”…whatever that means. And lastly….it’s going to be offered digitally

I know. I’ll wait while you collect yourself.

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I have a very sad feeling that #2 pencils are slowly becoming extinct.

*sigh*

So, I have a confession. I am clearly not in high school. I am a twenty something New Yorker. I don’t own a snapchat. I’ve worn a croptop all of 2 times. And (spoiler alert) I don’t “FeelTheBern.” So, in an effort to stay relevant with the youths of today, I do a little recon work.

I know. I am so cool.

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Forgettable

The Beatles song, “Eleanor Rigby” had an impact on me in my early years. One line that still cuts to my heart is:

“Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name. Nobody came…”

I’ve wondered who would show up for my funeral. Of course, when I’m dead, it won’t really matter if zero or 1000 people show up because, well, I’m dead and I won’t know either way. Really it’s about significance and making a difference. Apparently, regardless of one’s walk of life, that’s a universal end of life lament – did I matter?

Recently, I became aware through a new friend that I’m forgettable. I joked about it but it stung a bit; when you pour heart and soul into something you want people to remember you a little, right? Then I realized this is a contradiction for me. A big part of what I do is help other people shine from the background – why should it then upset me fade into the background? I think it has to do with selfishness and gaining validation from others. Kind of makes it hypocritical for me to say, “Give God ALL the glory.”

So, I’ve decided I will become okay with being forgettable. It’s not going to be easy but I’ve already got lots of experience.

 

You’re Not Enough For Him

Break ups suck. In close relationships, we become vulnerable, willing to trust and love. If that relationship comes to an end, the break up leaves a hole in our heart that needs grieving to heal.  And that’s when things end amicably.What happens when you discover the guy you’ve been with is cheating on you and the relationship comes to an abrupt end, filled with anger and loads of unresolved feelings that not even ice cream can soothe?

To be cheated on take the pain and loss of a break up and adds the shock of gut wrenching betrayal. Loss + Betrayal usually produces something insidious: a overwhelming self-doubt that swirls around the question, “Why wasn’t I enough for him?”  Have you been there?

As a man with both relationship experience and the sad ability to be a complete jerk, I want to share with you the TRUTH. This will probably sting – like pulling a really sticky band-aid off the legs you haven’t shaved since the break up- but it’s best you hear it from somebody who cares. Here it comes…

It’s TRUE! You really aren’t enough for him. Do you think the problem was your looks, past, personality, or sexuality? Are you making furious promises to be something you are not; are you determined to pursue a revenge inspired self-improvement kick? It won’t matter. Nothing you do will make any difference. You’re not enough for him.

Let me tell you why.

The reason is quite simple and it has three small parts. First, you will never be enough for him is because you’re not the problem.* In his heart there is a terrible brokenness that makes it okay to betray those who have decided to love him simply so he can satisfy his own lusts. Think about it for a minute: what kind of a man will look you right in the eye, the one he supposedly loves, and outright lie about his intentions and commitments; spend time with you in the afternoon and lay with another woman in the evening? That’s seriously messed up! A broken and maybe borderline evil heart. What that means is, no matter what you do or try to become or even compromise yourself for, you can’t fix his heart. No way, no how, never. His heart damage requires supernatural surgery, divine intervention, and you’re not enough for that.

Second, you will never be enough for him because to live with his brokenness will require you to be something you are not and don’t deserve to be. To be enough you would have to embrace being disrespected, lied to, manipulated, treated as less than worthy, and being objectified (sorry you probably thought he actually loved you but a cheater just sees you, the new woman, and the woman after her, only as a body for him to use).

Wait! What if he comes sniffing around you again? I have to tell you another hard truth. You didn’t become enough, you didn’t win a victory over the other woman, your obsessing and pining didn’t reignite his love for you. No way! He’s just hungry again and you’re a lame, whimpering, doe. Don’t be an easy meal! Unless he has totally surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and been transformed by grace, that broken heart still lives on. A few weeks, a few months, he’ll cheat on you again. But I digress…

Finally, you’re not enough for him because as you internalize the truth I am telling you today, and as your heart heals from the betrayal, you will discover little by little that you’re not simply enough for him, you way too much more than enough for him! Along the way, you will come to rest in the greater truth that you deserve to be loved beautifully with honesty, integrity, and passion and, instead of a cheater, you will want a partner who is enough for you!

 

*Even though you are not to blame for the hurtful choices others make and when it comes to cheaters you will never be good enough because it’s the cheater whose is broken and a mess, there may be some wounds in your life that are hurting your relationships. If so, check out my recent series ACL Healing.