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5 Types of People To Avoid - David Lawrence

The 5 Types of People to Avoid

It doesn’t matter the nationality, race, age, background, economic status, or profession – I believe every person is longing for a deeper connection and is searching for a clear direction. God designed us to have deep and healthy relationships with others. He also designed us to have clarity of vision and direction for our lives.

Whenever Liz and I have the privilege to counsel and pray with people – most times than not the things that we pray about are just the symptoms in their life that correlate to a lack of one of these areas: A lack of deep and healthy relationships or a lack of clarity of vision or direction.

When people surround themselves with the wrong kinds of relationships who have no clear vision or direction for their life, they ultimately make unwise choices.

I am convinced that the health of your vision is directly connected to the health of your relationships!

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, people cast off restraint…”

This verse implies that people who have no vision have no life focus or discipline. However, living a life of restraint is living a disciplined or focused life. I have found that people who are undisciplined usually make unwise life decisions. People who are focused and disciplined typically make good life choices.

Proverbs 13:20 says, “When you walk with the wise, you become wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

If we are going to do what God has called us to do and live a life that’s on a mission, with clear vision and direction, then we must take inventory and look at the health of our relationships. We can’t continue hanging around what the Bible calls a “companion of fools” and believe that we will be able to fulfill our life purpose and calling.

Dr. Myles Munroe made a statement years ago that people quote all the time all over the world:

“Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.”

Here are 5 Types of People (or fools) we all need to avoid:

1. The Rut

What it looks like – The rut is the person who doesn’t have a passion or hunger for personal growth. The reason why they have no hunger to grow is that they’re not teachable. When there is a lack of teachability, there is also a lack of humility. The rut thinks they know it all. They will always blame circumstances, situations, or other people for where they are at. But they will never take responsibility for where they are at or where they are going. Pride is the root cause of stagnant personal growth. When we stop growing, we stop learning and eventually stop getting better.

What you can do – If you have a friend whose life seems stuck – love them where they are at, but challenge them to change their thinking about their circumstances and connect them with resources and tools to help them grow. Sometimes, some people just need a friendly kick in the pants to knock them out of their funk. But sometimes some people need a major shift and breakthrough in how they think and how they see themselves. You may be the very friend to help them make that shift. But it’s their choice to choose life (growth) or to choose death (stagnation). But keep this in mind, people who grow and people who stagnate naturally don’t run in the same circles. Surround yourselves with friends who are growing and moving forward, so you are empowered to encourage, strengthen, speak life, and speak purpose into those who need a shift in their thinking and their identity.

 

2. The Energy Vampire

What it looks like – The energy vampire is the person who every time you get around them they suck the life and energy out from under you. You know who they are. You dread knowing when you get around them – whether it’s at work, family reunion, or a social party. The conversations usually revolve around their problems and complaints. They provide the “emotional dump” on you so they can have a release and feel better. The problem is that energy makes a withdrawal from your energy reserve, and you have nothing left to give afterward. Here’s the problem, when you spend too much time with people that suck the life from you, the consequence is that you will not have enough energy to give to others and to the people you love.

What you can do – Surround yourself with people who lift your spirit and who bring life into your world. You know who they are too! They’re life-givers. The reason why they can give life and energy away is that they have surrounded themselves with other life-givers. Life is too short to consistently be around energy vampires. God has called you for such a time as this. It takes energy to walk out that calling. It also takes energy to stay in the fight to see your dreams become reality. Surround yourself with people who call out the best in you and who speak life into your world.

 

3. The Drama Queen/King

What it looks like – This person’s storyline never seems to move past the conflict stage. It seems like they are always having a conflict somewhere. There is always someone making them unhappy and someone to blame. And, if they’re not in the current conflict, by golly they will go out and find one! This person chooses drama as an attitude and attracts it wherever they go. They fret over the petty things and have a way of turning everything into a major life crisis. Not only are they the rut and the energy vampire at the same time, but they actually like it. For drama queens/kings they only see themselves as the only major character in their life story and it’s hard for them to see anyone else unless it involves conflict.

What you can do – The only thing I can say about drama queens and kings is to block and delete their number and while you are at it, unfriend/unfollow them on social media. Your life will never be drama free, but you can definitely block those who love to attract it.

 

4. The Negative Nancy/Ned

What it looks like – The people who we call negative Nancy or Ned are the folks who don’t have a revelation of the power that’s inside of their words. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life or death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” I like to put it this way,” the words you speak will be the fruit you eat.” The truth is that your world is framed by your words. The atmosphere in your home is shaped by the kind of words that are spoken in your house. How do people talk inside your house? What kind of music do you play? Do you always have the news on? You may work with a boss, a coworker, or have a family member who constantly speaks negative words about situations, circumstances, or about other people. And, there may be a situation going on that is negative. But don’t allow the negative words or the negative report to be the final statement.

What you can do – Choose life, then speak life into that situation. When negative Nancy or Ned begins to talk. Begin to overtake the atmosphere by speaking life and shutting that negativity down! People who are positive and speak life know how to lift the atmosphere around them. Surround yourself with people ( or better yet) be the kind of person, who knows how to charge the atmosphere with words that are filled with life, faith, hope, and love!

 

5. The Flake

What it looks like – There are many people who value your time and who are excited about making plans with you. Why chase people who don’t follow through? Sometimes people are going through life stuff which makes them unavailable –  and that’s totally understandable. But there are those who simply flake and have the inability to manage their time well and therefore something always comes up. Well, that gets old, fast! The friend who says they have no time to see you, not true. They simply don’t want to prioritize their time on you.

What you can do – Don’t let people take you away (or waste your time) from those you are meant to do life with. People who consistently flake on their friends are probably flaking in other areas of their life too. The last thing you want to do is keep chasing a flake. Your time and your friendship is too valuable. There is an old saying, “go where you’re celebrated, not where you’re tolerated.” As we continue to grow and build healthy relationships, I’m reminded of a quote from Pastor Kevin Gerald, Champions Centre in Seattle, WA, “Not all relationships are meant to be forever. Some are for a reason. Some are for a season. And, some are for a lifetime.” 

 

Same-Church or Different-Church Dating Relationships by Elizabeth Podgurski

Disclaimer: “At the time I wrote this piece, David and I where in the dating stage of our relationship. Now, we are in the engagement stage and very excited how God has blessed our relationship. During the dating stage, we frequently discussed about church culture and the impact it can have on Same-church and different-church dating relationships. Since we attend different churches, here are some thoughts we discovered along the way in our relationship journey. Oh, and FYI, we will be attending the same church when we get married.”

***

“So I haven’t seen you guys at church together, what service do ya’ll go to?”

“Oh I go to the 9:15am here and he goes to the 11:00am at his church.”

“You don’t go to the same church?” “Yeah, you guys ARE dating, right?”

And so with my revelation my two acquaintances were shocked to hear my boyfriend and I attend different churches. Over the next few minutes we discussed what we thought about the intersection of dating and church attendance. I’d like to let you in on the conversation and get your thoughts too.

“Is that even biblical?” There’s an expectation in some church cultures that once we start dating we are expected to attend service, class and bible study together. Where did that came from? We all grew up influenced by culture (inside and outside the church walls) so maybe the expectation is cultural? The Bible doesn’t even mention dating, but it does talk about relationships. So let’s help one another say yes to healthy relationships rather than expecting mutual church attendance from dating couples.

“Don’t be playing the couple.” Relationships are best when they go through the process of stages and if we play “the dating couple who regularly goes to church together, stays together” we enjoy the emotional and sometimes physical sensation of security without the actual relational security found in the committed later stages of dating moving into engagement. Dating is not for the purpose of having someone to sit next to in church. Sometimes keeping church attendance separate until the relationship progresses past “fun” and “interest” stages allows for maintaining a healthy level of intimacy on every level of who we are as disciples: spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and physically.

“How are you accountable if you are not in the same church?” Most often this question deals with the goal of chastity or purity that involves others input or protection and comes with some fear of moral failure. Intentionally inviting trusted friends/wise counsel into our relationships helps behave wisely more often than not. More than just maintaining purity, an accountability partner helps with overall soul-health which increases the ability to focus on the good now and later. For those who have had previous non-Biblical relationships, having involved friends is key to re-training old patterns and that can happen in same-church or different churches.

“Grace is always at work.” In attempting to date in a biblical, and not cultural, manner we must rely on the truth that God’s grace is at work in our dating. See your dating life from God’s vantage point and change your approach accordingly. We don’t need to make choices based on expectations of others. We see a great relational example of this in Joseph as he heard of Mary’s pregnancy. He chose to be driven by great love and commitment to another person (Mary’s) well-being and also by his own inner conviction of how he wanted to behave. By getting to know the character of God, who we are in Christ and His design for relationships, then more often than not we will put grace-filled care into practice.

In our conversation we agreed dating is a form of a relationship that doesn’t have any biblical precedent, but because it is a relationship we have plenty of instruction to apply. Dating someone in the same church is just as risky as is dating someone in another church because most cities have a connected Christian community. If we are dating in a healthy manner it might not matter a whole heck of a lot whether it’s same-church or not.

So there’s some of our conversation.

There’s a lot we didn’t talk about, so let me hear from you.

***

Elizabeth Podgurski, M.A., NCC, LPC, is a Christian Family Therapist and Counselor at First Evangelical Free Church, Austin, TX and is the President of the Austin Area Chapter for the Christian Counselors of Texas. She is engaged to David Lawrence, lead blogger at ImpelMagazine.com. You can friend her on Facebook HERE and follow her on Twitter HERE.

Get Over It by Stacy McVane

 

My favorite leadership expert is John C. Maxwell.  In his book, “Failing Forward,” he says that in order to move forward you have twenty-four hours to get over successes and failures.  I have experienced getting stuck in the successes and failures.  I also understand it’s time to get over the successes and failures and move forward into what is next for me.

In 2002 I ran the Motorola Marathon in Austin, TX.  It was one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life.  The six month training in order to get to the starting line was an experience in pushing through physically and mentally.  In 2003, I decided to participate in the Danskin Triathlon.  I had to get over the success of the marathon in order to train for the triathlon and have another goal to challenge me.  That wasn’t an easy thing.  I like success.  I like having the pictures and metal from the marathon on my office wall.  I’m really not sure who doesn’t.  I also realize that God is more concerned with my character then how I feel and my list of successes and failures.  I’m not always going to “feel” successful, but I am loved and accepted by God. Knowing that gives me confidence to get over successes and failures and move on to the next thing in life.  Romans 8:35-39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

When I say “get over it,” I mean get over you; the past hurts, disappointments, successes, failures, and relationships (personal, ministry, business).  God has so much more for you then to be stuck in an emotional spiral over people and circumstances you have no control over.  You have control over your emotions and the things you choose to expend your emotional energy on.  In my own life, in order for me to get over some things, I’ve chosen to be vulnerable: going to a professional counselor to sort out my thoughts and feelings, confronting and being confronted by individuals I’ve hurt their feelings or they’ve hurt mine, being honest and raw with my emotions when spending time with God, and having great girlfriends that I can confide in and truly be myself (the good, bad, and ugly).  I encourage you to be self aware about your emotions, but also not to get stuck in them.

I had a one on one meeting with my personal trainer, Kratai Albert.  It included being weighed and measured for the next season of her Power of Six (www.kratai.net) fitness program.  I didn’t meet the goals I wanted to in the past three month session.  I wasn’t focused on the physical (exercise and nutrition) part of me.  Instead of being stuck in the last session, I made a choice to move on to the session that starts on Monday.  I set new goals and have a new plan of action.  I also have someone to support, encourage, and keep me accountable.  It’s important and strategic for me to have Kratai to be my cheerleader, coach, and tell me the truth.  I want something different, so I have to do something different.

An important thing that I have learned to get over is past relationships.  It’s crucial to get over past relationships in order to be open to the opportunities set before you for possible new ones.  A couple of years ago, I was in a relationship with a man that was also in ministry at the same church I am on staff at, Shoreline Church.  We served side by side in one another’s ministry before and during our relationship.  When our relationship ended, it really stretched my emotional awareness and changed the dynamic of our ministry partnership.  I knew that neither of us was going anywhere.  I had to learn to get over it quickly in order to continue to do what God wanted me to do and still have interactions with an ex-boyfriend/ministry partner.  Believe me, it was easier said than done.  Today, I am in an incredible relationship with a man that attends the same church as me.  I also have a casual friendship with the ex-boyfriend/ministry partner.  God’s healing and restoration is real.

I have decided to start every day fresh with a clean perspective in every area of my life that includes an attitude of mercy toward myself.  Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his Compassion never fails.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Your Thoughts?

Stacy McVane is the Executive Director of Lift Student Ministries at Shoreline Church, Austin, TX. You can follow her on Twitter HERE and friend her on Facebook HERE. Visit her website at www.StacyMcVane.com.

7 Elements of Student Ministry Directing by Stacy McVane

Communication and relationships are the most important aspect of any church organization.  Developing great relationships across the entire church staff, and not just within your department is crucial to the vision.  In order to have unity and continue to stick to the vision of Shoreline ChurchUnveiling God’s Love, I must be able to communicate and find some sort of commonality with everybody on staff.  Respecting and adhering to other departments’ processes and systems gives you credibility and opportunity to serve one another.  Developing relationships is always a blast!

I was having a conversation about communication with Joel Maguire, the Men’s Student Life Director of Shoreline’s Leadership College.  He said, “Unvoiced expectations will always equal unmet expectations.”  This is such a true statement.  If it weren’t for the volunteers at Shoreline Church, we wouldn’t have a church.  Volunteers want to know what is expected of them so they can meet and exceed expectations.  People want to be asked to help and serve.  Everybody wants an opportunity to make an impact.

From my perspective, these are some practical elements of directing student ministries from Ji-High to Young Adults:

  1. Be the person who has all the answers to all the questions.  If you don’t have the answer, tell the person you will find out and get back to them.  Make sure you follow through on what you say.  I had four leaders call me about a specific incident.  I let them know I didn’t have an answer because I wasn’t there, but I would get back to them.  I researched, found the answer, and called each one of them back to dialog about the incident.
  2. Work yourself out of a job.  Bring someone with you everywhere you go.  Always be mentoring someone.  Multiply your leadership.  It’s not necessary to be at the Lift Young Adults service on Sunday nights because Nadine Matthews can run it.
  3. Make sure everyone is clear on the vision of the ministry and what the win is.  The win at every Lift service is to have no first time guests sitting alone.  Adrian Cardenas makes sure this happens at our Lift 7th-12th grade service with our Lift Rats (a team of teenagers who love on our guests) and Jenny Heggem makes sure this happens at our Lift 6th-8th grade service.
  4. Plan ahead and be flexible with change.  Always plan, but always be ready to change the plan if asked to.  If my supervisor, Pastor Earl McClellan wants some part of our Lift Young Adults service to change, I make sure to leave enough room for change to happen.  If I have a question, I can always ask after the service.  Take action at the moment and debrief later.
  5. Look for the gifts, talents, and passions of others.  Jessica Worthey is passionate about 6th-8th grade young ladies and I knew she would love to lead a small group of ladies in the home of Grace Wall’s parents.  Jessica loves her small group and the young ladies are learning about relationships and leadership with Jessica.
  6. Learn emotional flexibility.  Be able to pray with someone and comfort them and then move on to tasks related the rest of the service.
  7. Be Prepared and be yourself. This is the best piece of advice I have ever received from my brother-in-law, Pastor Sam Mata. I do my best when I adhere to that advice.

After serving on staff at Shoreline Church for nearly eight years, I’ve had to learn to be confident in who I am.  I am God’s child, made out of His love and grace.  I have a purpose made specifically by God.  If I concentrate on these truths and not on my position, there comes a freedom to rely and depend on God rather than striving to get things done in my own strength.

Your Thoughts?

Stacy McVane is the Executive Director of Lift Student Ministries at Shoreline Church, Austin, TX. You can follow her on Twitter HERE and friend her on Facebook HERE. Visit her website at www.StacyMcVane.com.