Posts Tagged christian

Motivation Mondays: Recognizing and Surviving The Adult Bully

Image of Christine Pechstein teaching online.Not all bullies are ten year old kids waiting for the perfect moment to pounce on you from behind the big tree to demand your lunch money in return for a knuckle sandwich.

Not all bullies are running around with guns and knives threatening to end your life.

Not all bullies are teenagers on Facebook spreading false rumors about Friday night’s party.

Some of them are close family members who have “your” best interest at heart.

Some of them are loud and obnoxious people who spread gossip and rumors or embarrassing stories they know about you.

Others are those who work with you and intimidate you through power-struggles or  one-upmanship all the time.

Many won’t let you form your own set of values, opinions, or morals and force you by intimidation to accept theirs.

Adult bullies are everywhere. And you can protect yourself.

Though this is JUST not enough time to cover such an in-depth topic, I’ve given you a few tools to help you identify those who use intimidation, control, and manipulation/retaliation, so you can begin to create boundaries to protect yourself.


1. Pray (Ask for control, empathy, and the courage to stand your ground and protect yourself, your beliefs, and remain bold in Truth. You need God to equip you.)

2. Create Protective Boundaries: If you have a stalker or violent individual (domestic violence) do not hesitate to take immediate legal action!

To create boundaries: You may need to limit your time with toxic people. You may need to change who you hang out with and for how long. You may need to change your work environment if possible. You may need to tighten up your social media and ban specific users, family members, and “friends”. You may need to take measures to protect your children from the manipulation of the individual. It might be time to stop talking about your dreams, goals, and plans with those who gossip or try to manipulate and worm their way into your life to control how you do things and what you do. Do not talk openly to people who feel the need to give you their approval on your life decisions. You need a plan to remain in control of your life, work, and forward movement without giving that person any entry point. It might be time to rock the boat and stand up for yourself in ways that preserve your integrity (although you don’t want to use their same low tactics).

You might decide that the best plan (for now) is to let them continue to spew all the crap they want to about everyone else (including you), because once they spew enough, they’ll be bound to step in the piles of their own mess. Sometimes you just need to realize that some people will not change, (because they do not desire it), and your best option is to determine whether it’s better to always expend our valuable time/energy to battle them, or to preserve it by walking away from, leaving them nothing to control (which will be very hard!) and leave them despite the blame and guilt (manipulative tactics) they try to place on your back. Finally, learn to recognize manipulative traits of people and patterns and try not to take them personally. You should never feel guilty for protecting yourself and your family. Being a Christian, does NOT make you a doormat.

3. Surround yourself with positive people who will pray for and with you. You need supports.

4. Seek professional counseling, legal assistance, or other resources for professional advice in serious situations or situations that you are not able to deal with on your own.

Remember, this is such a vast topic, it is impossible to discuss every single topic and outcome. The best thing to do is to develop your own action plan using resources you find helpful. And if it’s beyond you…seek assistance and personal support from the pros.


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A Passionhate Disguise

While I make it a point to refrain from posting my political opinions, Christian opinions, other personal beliefs, Biblical viewpoints, and my political party associations (if any–I’ll never say, ha, ha!) out of the public, it seems that there are a few people in the world who do want to push them into the public eye whether or not they truly understand where it is I stand personally on any given issue. Even if they think they’ve got a small glimpse (however inaccurate), they’ll publicly announce, call for a debate, or find it appropriate and within their rights to slander my name publicly or try to prove me wrong, if I don’t seem to fit their opinions. You know, the backwards- point fingers at you now, clarify later- type of deals.

I was recently publicly humiliated in an extremely unprofessional manner and in bad form. The mere mention of my name associated with a “hate” group is slander and completely unfounded. (No details. I’m not going to spark debate or even invite it. That is NOT what this is about and it will not be tolerated on my blog.) It was extremely unprofessional in my opinion in the way it was done and without regard to reputation or damage when I run a ministry, business, and live in the public eye as a woman who is not perfect by any means, but passionately loves God. While I am a Christian and uphold the Bible as the highest authority rather than my popular appeal to the public, those who do not feel the same or understand me personally will find a way to tag me to what they really don’t know or assume. Somehow in our day and age, we tend to confuse opinions with truth, and it’s costing us dearly.

We can’t assume we know everything about a person because they like one thing or another, study one thing or another, or work in one area of another. Everything is multifaceted and there is no way to say that because of X she is Y. As an example, to say we know everything about an individual’s stance on a topic because they voted for one President over another is more than ridiculous. We don’t agree with everything about the people we vote for necessarily, yet we may agree with more than less. And that has an effect on where, how, and on what we stand with issues. There is no way to completely assume we know a person’s position, because of their affiliation, work, or participation and community involvement. As they say about assume (ass-u-me): To assume makes an ass out of u and me. Thanks, but no thanks. You can be an ass. I’m going to work on forgiving and praying for my enemies. After all, that’s what Jesus has said we should do in times like this. I don’t want to assume anything.

Many times though we site being passionate as our justifiable cause. It’s all okay if it’s in the name of passion, right? Not so fast.

We ALL can be guilty of this if our passions are left unchecked. If our passions only serve, me, myself, and I, and honor only my beliefs while belittling or hurting others, they become the launching pad of something far beyond mere passion. When we operate under the disguise of super-passion that no longer edifies an builds up and instead squashes, controls, bullies, leads to slander, abuse, humiliation, or any other negative thing to a person’s name, it is no longer passion in the positive sense we know it to be. It becomes a passion in disguise. And it’s disguised, because it’s now attached to hate. Do we see it? Or do we ignore it? Has passion ever blinded us? I say we and us, because this is something that can happen to ANY of us. We all have passions. But we need to keep them in check. If we don’t, things like this happen, and people end up hurt. And I’ll admit. I was more than hurt. And I’m praying through that.

Individuals think they’re merely passionate. But in reality,  they’ve become passionhate.

Hate is defined as: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury or extreme dislike or antipathy

Passion is defined as: : emotion, intense drive, or overmastering feeling or conviction or an outbreak of anger

When looking at the two definitions we realize that being passionate can become what I refer to as passionhate. We can be passionate. Or we can become so driven beyond all costs that we no longer use care when working with or speaking of  those who differ from us.  We end up passionate beyond control, and wrapped up in hate at the same time. Our passion no longer serves a positive purpose. It starts demeaning those who are different from us whether we truly understand them or not. We react strongly and negatively, and by doing so become a harassment to those who are different than us in our intolerable responses to them.

In essence, when we reach this point, we don’t breed change, but instead breed fear, discord, and disunity with those we were trying to win over in the first place. Now we’ve just widened the gap and fueled more hate. Oh, but it’s merely more reason to operate in the name of passion! Not. And it becomes such a cycle that pretty soon resembles a whirlwind. It reminds me of a tornado. Passion that spins out of control so wildly that instead of causing change it starts to destroy. The more the storm churns, the more violent it becomes. And pretty soon the community in which it originates and lives becomes the victim to a path of destruction. But it must be ok. It’s all in the name of passion. Sigh.

When we become so intolerant of those who don’t see eye to eye with us or vary on one issue or another, we start passionhating. And once the winds start to collide like those of an impending storm, the only thing that can be seen upon the horizon is the darkness that looms and seeks to destroy everything and anyone in it’s path. It’s no longer done out of love. It’s become a self focus. It’s become an agenda. It’s all in the name of self promoted opinion over who is right and who is wrong. It’s viewed as the only way or no way. Tragically, we forget to love our neighbor. We forget that we have the right to uphold religious beliefs. We forget that we have the right to disagree and live peacefully in disagreement. We forget that we may have to tolerate some stuff. It’s a broken world. And we have to tolerate a lot of crap. But it’s like we seek to have the right to not ever have to tolerate someone’s crap. That’s not even possible! Like it or not, we have to learn to tolerate some stuff from individuals we don’t care for nor agree with. And when I speak of toleration, I’m not saying we should start tolerating sin. Sin is sin is sin is sin. Period. Even my own sin. I’m not exempt and certainly not trying to justify tolerating even my own. But, when it comes to tolerating differences in opinions, it’s not a reason to destroy people or communities. It’s about remembering how to be peaceful. Add a little respect and tact, and we can do much!

I think that we’ve forgotten that a difference in opinion in itself is not hate. It’s the actions that an individual chooses to put behind it that makes it so. And once passion is leaving individuals feeling pulled out, picked out, picked on, harassed, embarrassed publicly, targeted (whether rightful or not), judged, and bullied, you’ve likely engaged in being passionhate.

Passion is good. But hate is dangerous. And while we may not ever see eye to eye on many things, the one thing we need to agree on is to disagree respectfully. Acting with respect, tact, and peace are essential ingredients we must inject into passion of any kind. Passions should be followed out of love. Love builds unity. Love brings change. But passionhate brings division. It fuels hate and debate. It fuels those divides to make them wider. It only seeks to destroy. And while we don’t have to like people’s opinions, we should respect them. Not destroy or personally attack them. Otherwise what you do becomes mere bullying in the name of your passion.

When thinking about how we choose to respond to people by letting our “it’s all in the name of passion” drive us, we need to remember two things:

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

And everyone is also entitled to respect.

Clearly, it doesn’t matter what rights we have if we don’t have respect for one another. And if we choose to disguise outbursts, personal attacks, and slander off of our own opinions and give no respect, we can’t really expect to find nor promote the change we seek. And that seems like such a waste of passion to me.

When thinking about how I can respect someone I don’t agree with:

I pray. And, I pray that God help both of us.

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Book Signing Review on The 7 Day Sermon Workbook

Here’s a review by ReVue on my book signing event for The 7 Day Sermon Workbook. Check it out!

If you didn’t get to the book signing, you can order your copy and pay NO SHIPPING!!! Hurry, offer ends soon! Use coupon code OCTGROUND305 at checkout, select Ground Shipping and receive the shipping free. Maximum savings with this promotion is $50. Offer ends on October 20, 2011 at 11:59 PM so try not to procrastinate!

Read the review here:

Watch the interview video here.

Image of The 7 Day Sermon Workbook

Order your copy now!

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Why Judging A Single Parent Sucks

me just like my mother

Image via Wikipedia

I have been a single mother for the better part of 15 years now. And there’s one thing I learned real quick. Single mothers and their family unit get judged for being just that. Single mothers. In many instances which still occur in my life today regardless of how old my kiddos get and despite the fact that they are now teens, I am judged incorrectly. And I get more than angered when my kids are seen as a liability, especially because I am a single parent.

  • My kids are not unruly.
  • My kids are not allowed to run our household.
  • They have responsibilities and chores.
  • They have boundaries. (More boundaries than most other kids we know.)
  • They are not allowed to many of the things that “everyone else is allowed to” do regardless of how many kids are doing it.
  • They are disciplined…and the discipline they receive is attached to a lesson, a consequence, and time for us to bond and strengthen our already strong relationships.
  • There is follow-through for the actions of my kids.

In addition:

  • We are extremely close.
  • We hold family meetings to keep us on track, have discussions, work through any issues that might arise, and teach good conflict resolution skills that my kids can use their entire lives!
  • We work together as a family, and I instill a strong work ethic, morals, and Christian values in them daily.
  • We play hard as a family, too!
  • We are not only a Christian family, but I strive every day to be a living and walking testimony to these kiddos and not hide my faith from them, but model it for them to make sure they don’t just do as I say, but do as I do (even if not now in their lives, but later…they will RETURN to their roots).
  • We have a BOAT load of fun.
  • They are considerate, kind, and think of others.
  • They know the value of money,  a job well done and earn their own money by working odd jobs for family and friends.
  • They’ve been taught to work hard, respect what they have, leave things better than they found them-every time.
  • They’ve been taught that love EQUALS  respect in so many aspects.
  • They’ve been taught not to judge, and to be proud of who they are and what they stand for regardless of what the “world” thinks. They matter!
  • They donate their own money after working to earn it on their own merits by doing chores. They DO know what it is like to have little and nothing and they still choose to give out of the little they worked so hard for.
  • They make decisions to stay away from others who are up to no good. And not only that, they TALK to me about WHY they made the decisions to abstain, remove themselves from, or avoid people and situations that have not been good for them.
  • They know they can, and they do talk to me about everything. I want them to communicate with me, so I encourage it!

Yet, as a single mother, my kids and I are so often seen as liabilities in many types of situations and by different types of people.

WHY??? Being a single mother, I can tell you that when it happens, there are only two words that describe it precisely:

It sucks.

I think we should remind ourselves to be careful to not judge people based on our own preconceived ideas or unknown facts. Have we ever walked in these shoes? Do we really know the person or people or are we simply letting our minds fill in all the unknown blanks? Are we making  inaccurate determinations without having any substantial relationships built to KNOW the people we are judging and basing decisions off of?  We imagine and then judge accordingly with many missing pieces of information. And it is not an accurate reflection of a family at all or our abilities as single parents.

Tonight my son just reminded me of WHY I get hurt when people judge me and my family without knowing all the facts.

Here’s just one example, and I have at least 1,000 more for each of my children.

I was straightening up the garage where some aluminum cans we were collecting to recycle had fallen over and spilled out of the trash bag onto the garage floor. As we were working, we noticed wasps and bees flying in and out of some of the soda cans, since there was the sweet sugary residue from the soda in some of them. I told my son if we waited until evening, they might settle down, and we could try to gather them up again and hopefully avoid being stung.

I started to grill our dinner and decided to grab the rake and just do it even though I have reactions to wasps that have prompted calls to 911 in the past. I didn’t want my kids to run the risk of getting stung, and I really thought I could do it without being stung if I worked carefully and quickly. I went down to the basement to throw a load of laundry in the washer before returning outside to take care of this pesky little task, when my 15 year old son pops inside, comes downstairs, and says, “Hey Mom. You don’t need to worry about getting the cans that were knocked over. I got them already. I didn’t want you to have to do it. And besides, I don’t want you to have $300,000 worth of hospital bills if you should get stung. That wouldn’t be good for you.”

I was not shocked at all, because this IS who my son is. But, I made sure I let him know how APPRECIATIVE I was to him for doing that and taking on that risk himself! I let out a huge, “Awwwww!” and complimented his responsible and mature behavior.

After all, WHY would I be shocked?

It is how I’ve raised them.

So stop judging single mothers. Get the facts and have a clue, because every time someone, anyone for that matter (I don’t care who it is) is misjudged, it hurts people. I honestly believe a good look at me is a pretty good indicator of how my kiddos have been raised. Are they perfect? Nope. And neither am I. But that doesn’t make us bad people or liabilities.

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As A Boy Grows, He Chooses His Church

I guess as a mother, I assumed my kids would just naturally attend the same church I did. It seems like it’s the normal route. But, my family just doesn’t fit typical in any way. If the typical Christian family is a puzzle piece, we’re definitely the wrong size and shape. We discover more ways we just don’t fit the normal anything daily, and that’s an understatement! This family is the equivalent of a circus, and yet it’s what we love about our small unit of people. Because we differ is an asset unique to us, because we’ve always been a family to defy the odds, stick together, and depend upon God’s strength and provision.

Now, a word about that. I am a mother who prays for that strength and provision. This is based upon MY faith. My kids didn’t attend church when they were young. They were teens when I returned to church. Trying to drag un-churched teens to church all of the sudden is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It would be easier and a lot more fun to spread hot tar on an iceburg in the middle of a tornado. And, I knew if I forced my faith down my teenager’s throats, they’d just run further from the church with each shove.

So what’s a mother to do? Simply live by God’s word, model her faith in every day life as much as possible, and pray, pray, pray, for God to reach her kiddos, give Him the praise, and utilize every teaching moment!

I was so concerned and prayed ALL the time (and still do) for my kids and their faith. I want more than anything for them to be strong believers. I want them to go to church. I want them to know Jesus.

So, I talk about Jesus, and tell them everything I know about Him.

I worship in church to show them that it’s not about performance or religion, but about their own personal relationship with Jesus. Love the Lord with ALL your heart, ALL your soul, ALL  your mind, and ALL your body. Worship wrecklessly and who cares about who is watching! LOVE GOD and let that love CONSUME you! Let Him transform you from the inside out!

After many years of praying for my kids, a prayer was answered today. My son has chosen a church. And while it is not the church that I attend, it is a church, and he’s made a decision to walk in his faith there. He’s a young man who made a very important decision. And I’m not  upset it’s not my church that he chose. I am supporting him 100%, and I am so proud of him. For a young man almost 16, choosing a church is a big decision. He’s been attending this church for several months now, praise God!

My son has relationships and friends with others at his church. In addition, he enjoys the teaching,  traditions, and will likely continue his transformation there.  When he comes home and is excited to tell me about the message, I know it is really his church, and he is listening, and growing. As a mother, I want my kids to grow up, spread their wings, become independent adults, and live productive lives. But, I also want them to have a good start when they first start their journey, just as I will want the same for when they start college, or their first job, or live in their first apartment away from home. In a way, I am so thrilled and full of contentment that he is establishing these roots now, before leaving home, so that in just a few short years when he does, he will be ready to attend church on his own.

He will have a church family before he has a family of his own. He will have a church family before he graduates from high school. He will have a church family that can help him grow into the man God designed him to become. As his mother, I am encouraging him, driving him to services when he needs a ride, and listening to  him talk about the sermon he heard. The most amazing thing is the type of conversations I am now beginning to have with him. It is such a gift that we can connect, because we connect from different places!

Today was a day of victory. A day of blessing. A day yet another of my prayers has been answered.

My son chose a church. One he calls HIS church. As a mother, my heart feels so many, many things! It just dances! And as a believer, my heart celebrates. There were no ceremonies. No parties. No formalities to signal his decision.

My son calls a church home.

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What’s In A Christian Friend?

I was thinking the other day about some non-Christian friends. I wanted to know what it would be like to have friends who believed in God if I didn’t. In fact, I wondered what it would be like for someone to even be my friend if they were not a Christian. As I pondered these thoughts, I realized that many would probably think I’d try to push religion or my view points on to them.

Nope. Being a Christian means that:

I won’t judge them.
I won’t force anything onto them.
I will be friendly and genuine.
I will help them when I can just the same as I’d do for my Christian friends.
I will comfort them when they need it.
I will laugh with them, but not at them.

And the number one thing that I do for my non-Christian friends? I pray.

I pray for them even though they don’t realize it. So, my non-Christian friends…

You have a prayer warrior on your side.

Even if you don’t believe in the power of prayer your Christian friends do. They can’t fix things for you, but they know someone who can. And you can know Him to. Prayer IS powerful.

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God separated the men from the monkeys

I was on a way to a meeting this morning, when I grabbed my pen to write a thought down. I was driving and the only thing available was my hand. It read, “God is what separated the men from the monkeys.” I laughed, and then I realized that yes, this was the next t-shirt I was to design.

Only the God of our universe, the Author of all creation was able to separate the men from the monkeys. Not evolution, not science…only God had the creativity, plan, and imagination to create man and animal separately. Yet, science still believes in evolution and chance. If evolution were correct, monkeys wouldn’t exist any longer. Men would’ve become the new monkey and monkeys would be history…like the dinosaurs.

So, the next time someone says evolution is how monkeys became men…simply respond:

separated the men
from the monkeys

This thought from my head is now on a t-shirt (click the link or see below).
I dare you to order one and wear it. Please leave your comments on the conversations you have. I’d love to know if it helps to reach people by engaging them in conversation 😉

Don’t worry guys…it’s available in a white cotton t-shirt as well.

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