“9 Tricky Defense Mechanisms That Are Ruining The Communication In Your Relationship”


Hey friends, I was published on Thought Catalog! It’s a post called 9 Tricky Defense Mechanisms That Are Ruining The Communication In Your Relationship. It covers defensive tactics like rationalizing, deflecting, blame-shifting, gaslighting, and other easy-to-spot moves.

The original post is herehttps://jsparkblog.com/2017/03/13/9-tricky-self-deceptive-defense-mechanisms-that-completely-undermine-dialogue/

Here’s an excerpt, the one I’m most guilty of:

6) Value Judgment / Moralizing. Measuring a person’s inherent value as inferior, especially when their preferences or personalities are different than yours.

The way you think is not how things are. Can I say that again? The way you think is not how things are. It’s simply how you think. Your personality and preferences are not the barometer by which the world turns. I struggle with this one the most; I’m always tempted to mold someone into my own image. Even when there are healthy standards to abide by, it becomes a problem when we grade someone’s value based on how well they’ve caught up to them. And surprise!—we rationalize or blame-shift or deflect when we ourselves don’t measure to our own standards. To truly understand another person requires knowing the whole story, and not just a tiny slice of their life.


Read the rest here. Love y’all, friends! — J.S.

My Top 16 Posts of 2016 from My Tumblr


16) Breaking Through Jealousy: Passing the Fire

15) She Stole My Shoes: What Being the “Other Guy” with a Cheater Taught Me About Loneliness and Lasting Love

14) 5 Ways to Diligently Discern All the Good and Bad “Christian Advice”

13) I Believe It Is Enough

12) I’m Not Okay. Is That Okay?

11) I’m Sorry and I Was Wrong

10) 5 Kinds of Romanticized Crushes That Will Mess You Up 

9) As I Really Am

8) You Won’t Like This: But I Hope You Hear Me

7) We Bleed, All The Way Up

6) How Do You Believe This Bulls__t?

5) A Few Quick Things About Forgiveness: What It Is and What It’s Not

4) I Held a Swastika

3) Five Husbands

2) Which Books of the Bible Do I Start First?

1) 15 Things I’ve Learned Not to Say at the Hospital


Photo from Image Catalog, CC BY PDM

My Top 20 Quotes of 2016 from My Tumblr

 

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20) Learning to Say No

19) I Want to Quit

18) Shame Versus Grace

17) To Really Listen

16) Christianity Isn’t About Whether It Works

15) Jesus, What We Need

14) To Really Listen First

13) “Since It Doesn’t Happen to Me …”

12) Love Doesn’t Keep a Score

11) When Things Fell Apart

10) You’ve Been Re-Made

9) The False Narrative

8) Depression Versus Faith

7) If You’re Breathing

6) The Christian Life Is Not a One-Shot Deal

5) When It Hurts, I’m Sure of One Thing

4) Truth and Love Together

3) God’s Will Is Who We Are

2) What God Wants to Do

1) But This Is What Jesus Does


Photo by Image Catalog, CC BY PDM

Top 16 Posts of 2016

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Here are the Top 16 Most Viral Posts of 2016 from my blog, ranging from topics such as porn addiction, feminism, neo-Nazis, being at the bedside of death, and the time my wife and I broke up for six months.


16) The Christian Life Isn’t a One-Shot Deal, But a Walk Painted by Steps

The Christian walk isn’t a “one chance and it’s over,” but a life-long mosaic.


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15) The Irretrievable Vacuum of Unhappily Never After.

Sometimes it doesn’t work out; the prayers go unanswered; we won’t know why.


14) I’m Not Okay. Is That Okay?

I need to know I can tell you everything.


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13) How Do You Keep Believing This Jesus Bulls__t?

I’m often asked how I keep believing, and I can’t believe that I keep believing.


12) A Few Quick Things About Forgiveness: What It Is and What It’s Not

Seven truths and myths about forgiveness.


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11) Movies That Christians Should Watch: The Truman Show

In my movie analysis series, I go over the spiritual and cultural themes of The Truman Show, a deeply tragic comedy about opportunism and freedom.


10) I Hate My Life and Myself and I Want to Die: What Do I Do?

The reality is, our dreams get crushed, and people will leave or cheat or abuse us, and our perseverance doesn’t always pay off. Most of us are not prepared for how harsh and brutal that life can be, because no one gives the hard talk about what it’s really like.


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9) “4 Unexpected Things That Happen When You Quit Porn”

An article I wrote for X3Church about four incredible things that happen when you quit pornography.
(My book on quitting porn is here.)


8) Breaking Up and Getting Back Together: About Me and My Wife

My wife and I had a six-month break-up. We needed it.


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7) Five Husbands

On a whirlwind day at the hospital, I visit five husbands who have lost their spouses.
(My other chaplain stories are here.)


6) What The Bible Talks About When It Talks About Women: A Mega-Post on Those Troubling “Anti-Women” Bible Verses

Contrary to pop opinion, the Bible is one of the most, if not the most, pro-women document in history.


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5) She Stole My Shoes: What Being the “Other Guy” with a Cheater Taught Me About Loneliness and Lasting Love.

A girl gets mad at her boyfriend and tries to cheat with me, and things only get worse from there.


4) You Won’t Like This But I Hope You Hear Me

No one likes to hear the hard truth about themselves: but without it, we will never grow, never heal, never go.


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3) I Held a Swastika

At the hospital, I visit a patient who tried to bite a nurse and threw urine at a surgeon, and happens to have a tattoo of a swastika.


2) 5 Kinds of Romanticized Crushes That Will Mess You Up

When “romantic feelings” overtake you, here’s a little guide to see where that goes.


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1) 15 Things I’ve Learned Not to Say at the Hospital

My work as a hospital chaplain has helped me to know what not to say to patients and the hurting.


Does Social Media Really Help a Cry-for-Help?

shatterrealm asked a question:

When Internet strangers rally together to assure a suicidal person that they are loved and precious, are we really helping? Or are we making things worse by arguing with their depression? Should we simply be referring them to professionals?

Hey dear friend, this is an excellent question that I can’t possibly hope to adequately cover, but I’ll offer a few thoughts on this to consider.

– On one hand, if you can save a life with words, do it. I think it’s absolutely a good idea to press in when someone expresses depression, anywhere, every time, all the time. It might really pull back someone from the edge, even for one more day.

I can’t really stop to evaluate the whole thing on whether it’s real or not, or if it’s really helping. That’s not for me to decide right then. If someone is drowning in a river headed towards a waterfall, I don’t ever want to think, “Am I enabling this person to not learn to swim?” I can think about that later. At this very second, I have to throw a lifeline, or I’ll jump in there myself.

– On the other hand, I’m less sure about how this will work for the long-term. It’s the old dilemma: “Give a person a fish for a day or teach them how to fish for life.”

In the short-term, rallying together online can certainly be helpful for a person who cries-for-help. I’ll be the first one there. But at some point, the online world becomes very limited in truly helping a depressed person. It doesn’t go deep enough, and in some cases, can actually be more harmful.


Continue reading “Does Social Media Really Help a Cry-for-Help?”

Top 20 Posts on my Tumblr of 2015


20) Letting Go or Holding On: The One Friend I Want to Help, But Can’t Anymore

19) We Say Goodbye, One More Time.

18) What The Bible Talks About When It Talks About Women: A Mega-Post on Those Troubling “Anti-Women” Bible Verses

17) Forgetting How To Be, Reclaiming How To Breathe

16) The Scary Horrible Thing About Depression

15) Why Is God So Homicidal In The Old Testament?

14) I Will Disappoint You

13) Wise Love.

12) You Can Do The Thing: And It Starts With This One Phrase

11) The Jesus That I Need

10) Three Lessons I Learned Instantly in My First Week of Marriage (That I’ll Need for Life)

9) A Friendly Reminder: You Are Loved

8) Surviving Suicide: A Testimony

7) To Remain Teachable

6) 11 Thoughts From A “Conservative Christian” About Marriage and Sexuality

5) I Voted “No.”

4) The Problem of Dealing With Racism Without Being Smug & Snarky: And Two Questions That I Ask Every Racist.

3) I Will, Anyway

2) I Refuse to Refuse Anyone

1) Tragedy is not a contest


Who We Really Are Behind the Screen of Who We Want to Be

Photo from Sarah Kim


There’s something you need to know.

The people you follow online are not everything they present themselves to be. Including me. We don’t have it together, and the more it seems like we do, the less likely it’s true.

I’ve met bloggers in real life who are nothing like the idealized hologram that they vicariously present in pretty quotes and shiny pictures and inspirational passive-aggressive monologues. Some are cranky jerks. Some are just surviving. Some do it for the likes. Some are still in middle school. Some do it because they can’t do anything else, and they’re telling others to do what they only dream of doing.

I have nothing against them. I’m them. I only wish they were honest about their emptiness and their heartache. I wish they would say how they actually feel instead of preaching the ideal. I wish they wouldn’t talk from a pedestal. I wish the same for me, too.

This is the space where I want to be, where I tell you I’m not any better than you and I’m still learning, and it’s not to look humble in reverse or to find some easy excuse, but because we’re both in this fight together, and we’re seeing only a few feet ahead of us at a time, like halfway headlights in a harsh fog, just like everyone else. I’m putting away my soap-box. I’m rolling up me sleeves and getting knee-deep in the trenches. I’m eye to eye, side by side. I’m with you, and I’m for you. I hope you’re for me, too.

— J.S.

Top 14 Posts and Quotes from my Tumblr


Top 14 Posts on my Tumblr of 2014

14) The Scary Anxious Pursuit Of “The One”

13) A Conversation With My Non-Christian Mom About Being A Pastor

12) My Most Horrifying Church Experience Ever

11) You’re Doing Better Than You Think

10) 7 Thoughts on Singleness: Is Something Wrong With Me?

9) Why I Read The Endings of Books First

8) When I Slip Away From God

7) If You Feel Far From God Today

6) Anomaly: Atheist Turned Pastor

5) Misquoting Jeremiah 29:11

4) Once I Was Rejected By A Girl and then Plot-Twist

3) Don’t Ever Settle For Less

2) For God So Loved The People You Can’t Stand

1) I Was A College Drop-Out



Top 14 Quotes on my Tumblr of 2014

14) Releasing Crushing Expectations

13) Actually Hearing The Voice of God

12) The Devil’s Biggest Lie

11) Stuck In A Rut: Pace Yourself

10) Some Days I Pray For God To Get Me

9) Your Idea of a Christian

8) Love Will Cost More Than Words

7) When Someone Asks Me About Gay People

6) The Just-Because Love

5) The Difference Between Religion and Relationship

4) Be Passionate Even When No One Else Is

3) God Has Room For Both The Legalist and Lukewarm

2) Navigating The Labyrinth of Insecurity

1) What Real Love Does


The Top 14 Posts of 2014

Here are the Top 14 Most Viral Posts from this blog of 2014, ranging from topics like singleness, homosexuality, racism, quitting porn, Mark Driscoll, and a confession about my brush with a celebrity pastor.

Continue reading “The Top 14 Posts of 2014”