Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

I answered a call  into ministry 16 years ago with a ton of baggage from my past. Some luggage was from choices I had made and some from the choices of others. I’d like to tell you that when I got into ministry all my baggage was thrown out to sea, but that wasn’t the case. Much of it I continued to carry as if it was the most important thing I owned. For me, the process was long because I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I honestly had no idea how much baggage I was carrying. I couldn’t see the toll it was having on my wife and my ministry. There were times when I would have glimpses of my dysfunction but for the most part I made it a point to be busy enough where I wouldn’t have to deal with it. What I didn’t realize is that when you don’t deal with the baggage from your past you inadvertently pick up more baggage along the way. Think of it as dysfunctional coping.

Here are 3 ways that I God took me a part and put me back together again over the last 12 years:

1. My wife: I’ve told her before she is what I never knew I wanted. She’s weathered much in our journey. She’s been an instrument of God in allowing me to see who I really am and who I am not. Some painful conversations, some breath taking realizations and a ton of grace. Marriage is a sanctifying work of God.

2. Pastoral Mentors: These were men who saw God’s best in me and called it out. They weren’t afraid to say difficult things at pivotal moments in my life. They called me up in love and God gave me the grace to respond in a way that was helpful. I’m grateful to still have men in this role in my life. Pastors need Pastors. You never get too old for accountability and growth.

3. Counseling: I’m a big proponent of Christian counseling. I found a ton of help here. I was able have a sounding board with a professional that could help me have a satellite view of my baggage and was able to speak biblical truth into some lies I had believed for a long time. I know some have said they’ve done counseling and it was either not helpful or a bad experience. To that I would argue you would not stop going to medical doctors because of one bad experience. There are some great Christian Counselors out there.

3. Deep Friendships: There have been only a few men that have walked in deep friendship with me over the years. Those that could allow me to be myself without expectations, loved me without reserve and were willing to  hold my feet to the fire when needed. Every man needs an ally in their life. God placed strategic allies in my life over the years to help propel me to major mile markers in my journey.

For some, God radically changes them overnight, others he changes over time. God continues to use people in concert in my life to allow me to trade in my baggage for fruit. (Gal. 5:22).

Grateful,

Nathan

>Are you a nice person? Would others consider you nice? I continue to see people that confuse the whole of Christian living as being nice. There is NO commandment in scripture to be nice. As Christians we are to walk in love, integrity, service and humility, But we are never told we must be nice.

Nice [nahys] -adjective : 1. pleasing, agreeable; delightful. 2. amiably pleasant

I grew up being told to be “nice” my entire childhood. This left me at times not being who God had me to be as well as just caving under any external pressure I might have run into. In Paul Coughlin’s book, No More Christian Nice Guy, I was reminded that we are not called to be “agreeable” all the time. He also the damage that “niceness” causes to relationships, families and the Christian Church. Jesus Christ himself came to not be “nice” but to bring change. Scripture says that the Christian faith is an offence to unbelievers. If it’s not…some thing’s wrong. You are not called to make everyone happy, to never disagree with someone or be politically correct. Now for those of you that can’t read nuance, let me also say that you’re not called by Jesus to be a jerk! That is not what this is about. It’s about living out the Christian faith in a authentic fashion without being a pansy in the process. I highly recommend this book!

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=beythefra-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=076420369X&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

Not Nice,

Nathan

>Every now and then I get a blunt reminder that not everyone is part of the Nathan Rouse fan club of life. For someone like me who has in the past looked for validation externally, it can be hard to hear, read, and see that not everyone likes me. I sometimes really wish I was that person that could care less what so and so thinks and just keep moving forward, but for me it’s not that easy. It’s even harder if you’re putting yourself out there in the area of leading, teaching, writing, etc. Whether it’s people that just misunderstand you, whole heartily disagree with your positions or just don’t like you, I believe there are some principles that can help us when receiving criticism.

Don’t get defensive: Set your pride and ego aside and genuinely hear what the person has to say. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Don’t always feel you have to respond right then. I sometimes take notes (if I can) so I slow myself down and process what they’ve said later.

Ask yourself “Is there ANY truth to what’s been shared?”: I believe we can learn from anyone, even if the criticism is not shared in the most mature or kindest fashion.

DO make adjustments if needed: If out of the criticism you see something valuable that needs to be adjusted in yourself or leadership…DO IT! Don’t allow your ego to keep you from learning and growing.

Move Forward: Many people when running into criticism allow it to paralyze their lives, plans and leadership. If you feel what you’re doing is biblical and you’ve prayed, sought wise counsel, and feel this is the best course then stand firm and move forward. Don’t water down your message or plans out of fear of upsetting others when you know it’s the best course of action.

Value the Relationship: Our immediate reaction to someone being critical is to want to withdrawal from that person by either avoiding them or just not talking as much to them. While we cannot control their actions we can control ours. Make it a point to continue to reach out to them even if they might not receive it. The apostle Paul said for us to “live in peace with one another.” We should make every effort to do so!

Go Grow,

Nathan

>I made the leap onto the Social Networking platform this last December by creating a profile on Facebook. I know this might sound late to some of you but I was very hesitant about the idea of people knowing everything about me or the feeling that it might steal time from an already busy schedule.

While I have found a ton of great benefits in using Facebook (connecting with people and leveraging influence), I have also found a few negatives to these Social Networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter…etc.). Here are my thoughts:

1. Self-expression overload: This generation highly values self-expression. Everyone seems to desire to have some type of artistic expression and universities are reporting exponential increase in communication majors. With that being said, do you think there is such a thing as too much disclosure? Is it dysfunctional to share EVERYTHING with EVERYONE?

2. Friendships Vs. Acquaintances: Here’s the deal we don’t really have 657 “friends”. Most of them are people we just know. A facebook friend is not always the same as an authentic relationship. Keep a good perspective on having quality relationships not so much focusing on quantity. You don’t want to wake up one day and realize all your relationships are just surface depth.

3. Time Thief: When I first got on to facebook I spent a TON of time online. My family and work paid the price. Saying yes to being online means saying no to: someone else, your work, valued projects that you want to get done and much more. I think it’s a great tool, but not at the cost of friends, family and your legacy paying the price.

Bottom Line: Don’t let your desire to express and connect online overwhelm your desire to connect and express in person.

Still Friends?,

Nathan

>A few days ago I was complaining to myself about a friend I felt had let me down. I can be very introspective already and I found myself thinking about what I really value in friendships. What are the qualities that I desire in friendship? As I made a mental list, I was then prompted to ask this logical question: How do I personally measure to up to these qualities? I began to get defensive and rationalize here and there about why I wasn’t always this or that or how it’s different for me because…” We tend to extend ourselves a lot more grace than we extend others.

I believe we’re called to focus on becoming the kind of friend we desire to have. It’s about taking the wood plank out of our own eye before we worry about the speck in others. Lord, help me to think more about what I can bring to a relationship instead of what I’m not getting.

Amen,

Nathan

>Think the Best?

Posted: June 19, 2009 in communication, relationships, trust

>Question: Are you the type of person that thinks the best about others or the worst? Do people have to first prove themselves to you before you view them in a positive way? An outlook that thinks critically of people until they prove otherwise is a heavy load for both sides. One side is an outlook of jaded cynicism (possibly coming from a critical home background or being hurt by people along the way of life.) The other side of our critical view of others is that we ask people to jump through hoops that we wouldn’t want put on us. We can be critical of others in way that we would see as unfair if done to us.
I can hear the arguments now. Nathan, you don’t know what’s been done to me. You don’t know how I’ve been treated….Do you just expect me to get run over? Answer: No. Thinking the best of others doesn’t mean being unwise or not being realistic. It means a balanced approach of wisdom and a love for people that always hopes. Bottom Line: Treat and view people the way you would like to be treated and viewed.

Trust Me,

Nathan

>Pet Peeve Alert: Those people that talk about themselves incessantly. Recently I had a chance to catch up with a friend from the past. It would have been a pleasant conversation had it not been for the fact that my friend talked the entire time and then shockingly had to go. There was a trite “how’s the family?”, but you could tell it was meaningless. You could tell there wasn’t a genuine desire to know how I or my family really was. I’ve been guilty at times of dominating conversations with stories. Here is a test: Next time you are sharing a story with someone and you are interrupted by something, see if people ask you to finish your thought. If they don’t, there’s your sign. Bottom line: It’s not just about asking the right questions in a conversation. It’s about genuinely wanting to know the answers. Don’t just talk to me…listen to me.

Hear me,

Nathan