UNLEASHED Vol. 4 – Communicate

 Summary

  1. Communicate with your three links of support!
    1. The enemy wants you to be quiet.  The enemy wants you think you’re alone.  The enemy wants you to suffer silently while “faking” that everything is ok.  When you are quiet and feeling alone the enemy has a much easier time controlling you.
    2. Use your three links of support to help battle the enemy, communicate with your support consistently, DON’T BE ALONE!  Break the silence and break the chains the enemy is using to hold you back.  Be fearless!!!  Don’t believe the simple lies like: “It sounds stupid.” “No one would understand.” “It’s embarrassing.” “It’s not that big of a deal.” “I don’t want to seem weak or unable to do it myself.”
  2. Link #1: Communicate with God
    1. PRAY!  This is our number one way to communicate, we MUST GO TO HIM!
    2. Psalm 12:1-2 David seeks God when times are tough.
    3. Psalm 37: 5-7 Go to God and he will take care of things
      1. For me, when I’m not keeping God first and not praying consistently to Him my flesh takes over big time and I go downhill fast…
  3. Link #2: Communicate with your wife
    1. Styles of communication and miscommunication:
      1. Men = Informational/solution mode/problem solvers
      2. Women = Relational/feelings/emotions
      3. Obvious set up for miscommunication
    2. Priorities: both of you keeping God number one is key
    3. Solutions: Talk with your 3:18 Men of Freedom friends! Ask what she needs – problem solver or listener.  Turn off technology and give your full attention, communicate more often “check in” more often.
  4. Link #3: Communicate with your brothers
    1. Man talk!  Get support and advice.  We understand each other, relate!  Be known!
    2. Small groups, accountability groups, friend groups, seek godly men!!!
      1. For me, I have a small group, a breakfast group, men’s  fraternity, and a few really good friends I hang out with.
  5. Questions to ponder
    1. How’s your prayer life?  Are you going to God first?
    2. When communicating with your wife, how does it go?  What does it look like?
    3. Are you brave enough to ask your wife for a “letter” grade on your communication skills?  (If so, share online at 318menoffreedom.com)
    4. Do you have a close group of brothers in Christ that you can communicate with?
    5. Do you utilize the godly men in your life as support?
    6. Which area of communication do you need to improve the most?

 

So guys, pray and focus.  Put in the time and effort to improve on communication.  You won’t regret it.  If you are feeling brave enough, we would love to hear your responses to the “Questions to ponder” online at 318menoffreedom.com or on Facebook – 3:18 Men of Freedom.  I want to challenge you to do this!  Challenge yourself!!!

 

Extended Version

 

  1. Communicate with your three links of support!
    1. The enemy wants you to be quiet.  The enemy wants you think you’re alone.  The enemy wants you to suffer silently while “faking” that everything is ok.  When you are quiet and feeling alone the enemy has a much easier time managing and controlling you.  When you are quiet, you are quite often ignoring your problems, and in turn making it easier for the enemy to make you feel alone, because in fact, you are alone with them when you don’t talk it out with God and others.  Don’t make it easy for the enemy, battle well!  Communicate!
    2. Use your three links of support to help battle the enemy, communicate with your support consistently, DON’T BE ALONE!  Break the silence and break the chains the enemy is using to hold you back.  Be fearless!!!  Don’t believe the simple lies like: “It sounds stupid.” “No one would understand.” “It’s embarrassing.” “It’s not that big of a deal.” “I don’t want to seem weak or unable to do it myself.”  Those are the most simple of little lies, yet they often dictate our actions if we believe them.  They can easily hold us back from dealing with our issues because we simply do not address them if we are not going to our three links of support to deal with them.
  2. Link #1: Communicate with God
    1. PRAY!  This is our number one resource we must use to communicate, we MUST GO TO HIM!
    2. Psalm 12:1-2 “Quick, God, I need your helping hand! The last decent person just went down, All the friends I depended on gone. Everyone talks in lie language; Lies slide off their oily lips. They doubletalk with forked tongues.”
    3. Psalm 37:5-7 “Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon. Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him. Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top.”
      1. For me, communication with God is the most important thing in my life, or at least it should be.  Prayer is our number one way to get an audience of one with Him!!!  When I am doing it right and keeping Him number one it is so awesome to see His hand in my life!  He has blessed me richly and I am so happy to give Him the glory!!!  But, just like all of us, I’m not perfect and I have times when I “forget” and start trying to do things from my own will and strength.  When I go there, my flesh quickly takes over and things just aren’t right.  I usually don’t notice it right away, but with time I start to feel the lack of His presence in what I’m trying to accomplish on my own and then BAM, there it is, my realization that I haven’t been keeping my priorities straight and that I’m managing a bunch of stuff that I thought was important.  Sometimes this is just letting the business of life distract me, sometimes its lies from the enemy pulling me away from Jesus, either way, it’s usually subtle.  Rarely, if ever, am I purposefully ignoring God and trying not to include Him in what I’m doing by not praying to Him about it.  It’s more like the enemy is just that good and getting to me and I don’t always catch it or realize it early on.  That’s why it is so important to have a healthy prayer life, not only does it help me share my heart with Him, it allows Him into my heart and to do His work of transformation, and in the process obviously fight the enemy.
  3. Link #2: Communicate with your wife
    1. Styles of communication are different for each gender.  I bet you may have already figured that out by now!  Often, that difference can lead to a lot of trouble in miscommunication causing pain, hurt feelings, frustration, and leaving a lot of room for the enemy to attack your relationship.
      1. Men communicate mostly to gather information.  Most men love to problem solve, come up with a solution, and “fix it”.  I know I love it when Rachel, my wife, comes to me with a problem, I can always brainstorm several different scenarios in a matter of a few seconds!  AND I can’t wait to tell her immediately all about them!!!  It makes me feel manly, respected, important, needed, wanted, and useful.  All good things, in balance.
      2. Women communicate mostly to relate, to relate with feeling and emotion.  They want to connect and feel, share, and relate.  They are much more concerned with that connected than the outcome of the communication.  They want to hear stuff about our heart, how we feel about…, and stuff like that… All good things for her because when she has communication like that she feels valued, pursued, needed, wanted, desired, and loved.
      3. Obvious set up for miscommunication right?  How often do we get in trouble or have conflict over communication?  I work hard at it and it is still a struggle all the time!  Rachel and I have gone through many stages of working on our communication.  She’s talking and I’m listening but not really listening, or I’m talking but in a way she doesn’t understand.  As guys we are often quiet and don’t want to share our thoughts, feeling, and emotions.  We have to let our wives in!  We have to share that stuff.  Then, when it comes to listening, I want to get down to business and fix the problem, she wants to explore the problem, analyze it from every angle, talk it over, marinade the conversation about it a little longer, revisit an idea or two, get my feelings on it, and feel like I’m listen / sympathizing with her.  Oh man!  When I’m in my flesh or the enemy is attacking me, I do not communicate well.  More often than not, I’ll go straight to that solution mode, tell her what I think will fix it, sit there all proud of myself like I deserve an award for the best idea ever, and then I wonder why she is unfulfilled and sometimes even mad at me!!!  It’s not always about me!  It’s not always about her either!
    2. Priorities:  We have to keep Jesus first and at our center, both of us, it’s about HIM!  When/if we can do that, He takes control and amazing oneness happens.  If we are putting Him first, then  I am putting her above myself and she is putting me above herself, we can do those hard things like FORGIVE, love each other even when its undeserved, and have patience, just to name a few.  How often are those things lacking when we are trying to get our own way in our own flesh???
    3. Solutions: Talk with your 3:18 Men of Freedom guys and get advice/help!  Be known!  As we have begun walking together, the Father has really blessed our time golfing and hiking with great conversation.  We are witnessing hearts changing, lies exposed, guys relating with each other and real life changes for the kingdom!!!  For me, I am working hard at communicating more of my feelings and emotions with Rachel.  I have noticed when I do, she really responds very supportively and with lots of encouragement which makes me feel more comfortable going there again.  I am very blessed by her.  It is a very insecure feeling at first, I didn’t want to let my guard down and be vulnerable.  But I let God in, surrendered it to Him, and let Him bless my efforts.  When I’m loving her well, our communication is better because I know to keep my solution minded problem solver thoughts to the side until they are wanted or needed.  We are even to the point where she will tell me or I will ask right away, “Do you want solutions/help, or do you need me to listen?”  That one thing shows her so much love and grace, like I am on her side because right away I am addressing her needs and showing her that I am there for her.  Another thing we have noticed is turning off technology really helps both of us so we can truly listen and focus.  If the TV is on, I will not hear her, plain and simple.  I get so zoned in to what I’m watching I won’t pay attention to her.  If she is at the computer on Facebook, the rest of the world does not exist. So we have learned, turn off the TV, put the cell phone on silent and walk away from the computer.    Over time we have also found that communicating more often helps our overall relationship and family vision.  Instead of longer infrequent communication where tons of stuff has to be covered, we communicate more frequently and for less time so we can “check in” on stuff we know is going on, add a few new things, and keep it less stressful.  Not there is a magic number for how long you should be communicating with your spouse that will be for you to determine on your own, but give her your full attention, she will feel so valued and important!  Invest the time!
  4. Link #3: Communicate with your brothers!
    1. We are guys, we understand “guy talk.”  Share your strengths and weaknesses.  When you’re stressed or hurting seek good godly counsel from your brothers!  More often than not, the guys you will be talking to will be able to relate with what you are going through.  Talk it out!  Ask for prayer. Get advice from godly men, not men of this world.
    2. Get involved!  Again, DON’T BE ALONE!!!  Get in a small group from your church or other ministry.  Have guys who you can relate to and then ask each other for accountability for whatever you need.  Make a few good friends you can just hang out with in a positive manner.  Not every manly relationship you have has to be super serious and deep.  However, every relationship you have with men should be positive, productive, redemptive, and bring glory to the Kingdom!
      1. For me, I have a lot of support with my brothers.  I have found a tremendous amount of personal and spiritual growth from the godly men the Lord has placed in my life over the years.  Pastors from church, small group leaders, small group members, and friends have all had a positive impact on me.  I can’t remember where I first heard this piece of advice, but I really think it’s good: In your spiritual walk, you should be close to and “known” by a man ahead of you in his walk, guiding you along.  You should be known and walk with a man at the same place as you, going through life together.  Finally you should be guiding and mentoring a man behind you in his walk, to bring him along the right path.  So, what do I do?  I go to Men’s Fraternity at my church in the fall/winter once a week for great time to reflect, work, and grow.  Right now I’m in a men’s small group (with the other guys on the 3:18 Men of Freedom leadership team) and we meet every other week for a few hours.  We are an all-purpose life group helping support each other in many ways.  We have accountability for whatever issues we bring up, we pray for each other, and we seek each other out when in need.  We often text any time when we are struggling and need prayer or to motivate each other, it’s pretty awesome to walk with good men who desire the Lord!  I have a few close friends who I meet for different things.  One who meets me twice a month for breakfast to talk about anything and everything, we celebrate a lot of the good things in life and share a lot of our struggles, and we are very transparent/known with each other.  Another friend and I meet a few times a month to have fun with our favorite hobbies, share life, go deep, and grow together one-on-one. Finally, I have several good friends whom I’ve known for a long time and have walked with me for a long time.  We hang out weekly for “guy’s night” to just be “us”, have fun, help each other with projects, stay up too late, enjoy hobbies together, and share life together.  The Father has richly blessed me with great support from my brothers in Christ.  This is especially important for me since I lost my earthly father ten years ago.  I was so blessed to be raised by a good godly man who taught me a lot of the right things about being a real man, a Christian man.  Since his passing, God has helped me seek out other godly men to continue my development.  I am so thankful!
  5. Questions to ponder
    1. How’s your prayer life?  Are you going to God first?
    2. When communicating with your wife, how does it go?  What does it look like?
    3. Are you brave enough to ask your significant other for a “letter” grade on your communication skills?  (If so, share online at 318menoffreedom.com)
    4. Do you have a close group of brother in Christ that you can communicate with?
    5. Do you utilize the godly men in your life as support?
    6. Which area of communication do you need to improve the most?

 

Be known!

In Christ,

Nick VandenBerg

3:18 Men of Freedom

Team Leader

“Like” us on Facebook (3:18 Men of Freedom)

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One comment

  1. All right guys, I’ll get this thing rolling. I truly pray you will take the challenge and share.

    1. How’s your prayer life? Are you going to God first?

    I feel like it’s pretty good. I go to God first most of the time, I walk and talk with Him through almost all of my day. I don’t usually avoid Him or purposefully leave Him out of my dreams, plans, worries, or struggles. However, sometimes in my flesh I get moving first, then realize I haven’t connected with God through prayer. So then I restart, pray, seek guidance, and go from there to where He leads me. It takes a lot of Faith not to always try to control things myself, that for sure.

    2. When communicating with your wife, how does it go? What does it look like?

    We have good communication. Like most guys, I do have a hard time fully listening and being fully engaged the whole time she’s talking. I do work hard at it. I try to put all distractions (TV, music, phone, computer, etc.) away so I can give her my best (which is still not that great sometimes). I am working on sharing more of my true heart and thoughts with her more often. Sometimes I believe the lie that she doesn’t really want to hear what’s going on with me. Which by the way, is such a lie from the enemy!!! When I do share my true heart with her she LOVES it! It’s necessary! So, I am working on talking more often when stuff wells up inside of me, not being so calculated, and just trusting God to meet both of us there to talk. It’s been awesome to see how God is using that to bring the three of us closely together. We are now looking into adoption/foster care which is something in my own flesh I would have never entertained. So, for us, we try to use time to the fullest. We text all the time. When we are together in the car or at home once they kids are in bed, we often “check in” and talk about our weekly/monthly schedule together so we can stay operating on the same page. Before bed or on dates we usually get deeper into heart issues and connect.

    3. Are you brave enough to ask your wife for a “letter” grade on your communication skills?

    Yes I was!!! She gave me a 7 out of 10 (a number system was easier than a grade, sorry). I’m feeling good about that. She said she can see that I’m trying harder to listen well, and she appreciates that. She likes that I don’t always go to solution mode when she’s sharing/venting. I lost points in the “how I communicate to her” category. She noted that I still need to work on sharing more of my heart, all of it, not always just the good stuff or the stuff that’s easy, but the stuff that might cause ripples in the water that I often hold back in exchange for less conflict (gee, passivity sound familiar?). She also noted that sometimes when I am talking to her I get tunnel vision / over passionate about certain things and then give wayyyyyy too much detail, and then eventually talk about that topic wayyyyyy too much. (I can be a little particular at times, border line OCD, kind of, so I can see her point).

    4. Do you have a close group of brothers in Christ that you can communicate with?

    Yes. Several old friends I’ve been walking with for years, my men’s fraternity guys, and my small group.

    5. Do you utilize the godly men in your life as support?

    Yes. I have guys I meet with for accountability in different areas of my life. I have my small group guys, we talk and text a lot, it’s great!!! We battle with each other / for each other, it’s such a blessing!!!

    6. Which area of communication do you need to improve the most?

    I’m a work in progress, truly, I need to continue working on all three desperately! But, I don’t think this is a trick question, it really could be any of the three. For me, I would say I need to improve most on communicating with God. Not allowing myself to go a day or a few days without my devotions or not praying to Him constantly. I need to improve the most on communicating with Him to rely on His truth, His strength to sustain me, not my own.

    So that’s me.
    Speak up gentlemen!
    In Him,

    Nick VandenBerg
    3:18 Men of Freedom
    Team Leader

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