Here are my Top Twelve Posts of 2018, including topics like the benefit of grief, dealing with depression in marriage, misogyny in the Bible, people-pleasing, and my brush with suicide this year.
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.
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.
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.
The Christian walk isn’t a “one chance and it’s over,” but a life-long mosaic.
Sometimes it doesn’t work out; the prayers go unanswered; we won’t know why.
I need to know I can tell you everything.
I’m often asked how I keep believing, and I can’t believe that I keep believing.
Seven truths and myths about forgiveness.
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.
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.
My wife and I had a six-month break-up. We needed it.
On a whirlwind day at the hospital, I visit five husbands who have lost their spouses.
(My other chaplain stories are here.)
Contrary to pop opinion, the Bible is one of the most, if not the most, pro-women document in history.
A girl gets mad at her boyfriend and tries to cheat with me, and things only get worse from there.
No one likes to hear the hard truth about themselves: but without it, we will never grow, never heal, never go.
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.
When “romantic feelings” overtake you, here’s a little guide to see where that goes.
My work as a hospital chaplain has helped me to know what not to say to patients and the hurting.
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.
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.
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.