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October 2016

Cultivate Book Blub

Rejection: Maybe It’s Not About You…

Maybe it’s not about you…

Week 5 of Cultivate Book Club Fall 2016

Chapters 7 & 8 of Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

Recently I was rejected. It wasn’t this BIG blow up, rather the silent but deadly type.  Slowly but surely I stopped receiving replies to my text messages, there was no more “hey let’s…” grab coffee, do yoga, go shopping… all the ways we used to connect.  At first~ I thought it was just coincidence.  They’re really busy with this project they have going on.  Now it’s the holidays,  Christmas~ everyone’s busy at Christmas right?!  Spring break~ same, and now it’s summer.   Traveling in the summer… that’s it!

BUT THEN… Good Ol’e Instagram. A truth teller of sorts!  Ohhhh, hey…  there they are with that friend.  I guess they DO have time, they just don’t have time for ME! OHHH the sting of rejection.

I admit I gave it WAY to much space in my head.

Do any of you ever do this… you spend some much time thinking about the people that don’t want to be with you that you totally forget about and neglect all of the people who do? What even is this about us?!

Of course I did what any mature 40 something would do… I totally let it go. Never gave it a second thought. Moved on in complete peace.   NO I DIDN’T.

I spun about it. Combed through our last few interactions and conversations.  What did I say?  Did I make a joke they took seriously? Was I too much? Not enough?


Finally I concluded that “so & so” is just better than me so of course it makes perfect sense that they had time for them and not me. It was because they were off having so much fun together every single day all day long (inferred of course from IG post) that there was no more room or space for me. I didn’t matter. I wasn’t ______________ enough (A. fun, B. smart,  C. interesting, D. all of the above).  It hurt, but of course I smiled and pretended it didn’t because I didn’t want to add needy and overly emotional to the list. AND then I pulled my heart back in… in to that safe place where I don’t let others see the real me. Bars up. Doors locked. Heart back in it’s safe place~in lockdown. When my heart’s in lockdown I can actually operate much better because I don’t feel at risk because it’s got it’s full body armor on. When my heart is in full body armor I am able to still be kind and have friendly exchanges, but I do not fully engage. I risk nothing, expect nothing, accept the loss.

AND… wouldn’t you know it~ here came one of those friendly exchanges when I least expected it. Here’s how this went…

Her: “Hey, do you have a minute to talk?”

Me: “Yes of course. What’s going on?”  It honestly didn’t occur to me that this talk was going to be about us, I assumed it was going to be about how I could pray for her, or help her with something going on in her life because that’s what I do as the pastor’s wife… which I’M SO HAPPY TO DO because I love people and I have a heart for them, and even if we aren’t best friends I still care about what’s going on in their lives and want to help or pray in any way I can. Ok back to the story.

Her: “I owe you an apology”.

Me: “For what?” And I sincerely meant this because although I was hurt, she hadn’t technically done anything wrong. Not wanting to be friends isn’t something to apologize for. It’s not a crime, or a rule broken… it just is what it is.

Her: “I completely cut you off. Rejected you. Rejected our friendship”

Me: “I’m not mad, you don’t owe me an apology. It hurt and I was sad, but you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s OK if you don’t want to be friends with me. You have that right. it’s ok. ”

Her: “That’s the thing. I DID want to be friends. I DO. The thing is, the more we were becoming friends, the more I felt at risk. At risk that if we were friends, you have all these other friends, and I was afraid that you’d want to choose them over me. And I knew I just couldn’t handle the rejection.”

Me: “Wait. What?”

Her: “I’ve been rejected so many times in friendships before. I know how this goes, and so to protect myself I had to completely back out of our friendship before you had the chance to reject me.”

Me: “Wait, What?”

FOR MONTHS  I’d made it all about ME! I’d played over everything I “might” have done or said wrong. Everything that wasn’t fun or special or good enough about me.  All the reasons they’d had to, of course, not choose me.  MONTHS! I did this for MONTHS!  And you know what… NEVER, not one time did any of what she said occur to me in the dozens of scenarios that I’d played out in my mind, the conclusions I’d come to about myself or the situation, not did any of it involve HER being afraid of being rejected by ME. Her feeling not _______ enough. Her being sad.  Wait. WHAT? I was so confused.

It had never even occurred to me the issues rooted in rejection that she was bringing to the table. Never. I only thought about me and mine.  Of course this was all about ME.  Except that it wasn’t.  Not at all.

At first I felt relieved. But then I felt curious. Curious about other situations and circumstances and relational fall outs that I’ve experienced rejection in, I wondered if there were ever other times that maybe it also wasn’t all about ME? Other times I’d made it about me, made assumptions, pulled my heart back into safety, protected myself from being hurt, put on the body armor, let a relationship die… all for a lie I had created and believed when I made it about me.

And so here’s the thing, the thing I learned (or should I say~ the thing I’m learning)… if we’re going to cultivate the practice of living loved, we’re going to have to practice being curious too. Curious about other people. Curious about their stories, their background, their wiring. Curious about what they’re bringing to the table. We have to remember we’re not the only ones bringing our stuff to the situation.

I love how Lysa Terkerst says in chapter 8 of Uninvited that “relationships don’t come in packages of perfection, relationships come in packages of potential”.  If we practice being real with ourselves then we already KNOW what we’re bringing to the table when it comes to friendship, what we too often forget is that the person sitting across from us at the table of friendship is also bringing their own fears of rejection, insecurity, imperfection, need for grace.

As our conversation went on, I feel like I got to know my friend somewhat for the first time despite the fact that we’ve sorta been friends for several years. She shared about her childhood and friendship interactions growing up, her family experiences, and how rejection has taught her that eventually you are always left.  NONE of which had anything to do with ME. Go figure.

Hmmmm, SO…  it’s not always about ME… There’s a new concept!  And I’m guessing some of the rejection you’ve experienced wasn’t about you either. So be careful friends… careful about what conclusions you draw about yourself when you feel rejected. Conclusions that you aren’t ________ enough. Because when you do this you’re creating and believing a lie in regards to who you are and your worthiness of love and acceptance.  We begin to veer off from who we are that we’ve decided isn’t ________ enough and begin trying to be whatever it is that we believe we need to be to be    ________ enough to be picked, liked, popular, accepted, loved.  We become an imposter version of ourselves and who we think we’re supposed to be instead of the real version of who we are.  When we do this we’re polluting ourselves and our relationships, and cheating the world out of who God made us to be.  The real version of who we are is exactly who this world needs to know.


I believed I wasn’t ______ enough for my friend. She believed she wasn’t ________ enough for me. We were both wrong. We now both understand that neither needs to be perfect, and that there’s so much potential between us as long as we live loved rather than rejected~ believing that what we bring to the table has more good than garbage, more potential than poison, more life than death because grace fills in the cracks. Grace for ourselves, grace for each other, grace from God.

Here’s what I want you to absorb this week, the statement I want you to hold on to…

“We can learn to live loved by recognizing that

the rejection we experience affects us but may not be about us.”

Live loved friends,



This week’s small group discussion & journal questions: 

  1. What were your biggest takeaways from chapters 7 & 8?
  2. After seeing how Abigail responded to rejection, Is it possible that in some of the rejections you’ve experienced in the past that maybe the rejection had to do more with what was going on in that person than what wasn’t “good enough” about you?
  3. When an opportunity arises~ do you tend to be a person to de escalate or instigate conflict?
  4. If you can think of one, share a rejection experience that you can now see had more to do with THAT person’s past rejection experiences than to do with your current situation? Is there a lie about yourself you’ve held onto that you need to confess and let go in light of this new perspective?
  5. Read Proverbs 15:1. How has a soft answer from someone changed the course of your actions or your response in a tense situation?
  6. Spend some time praying together as you cultivate these truths into your lives.



Cultivate Book Blub

Friendship Breakups are a Real Thing!

Friendship breakups are a real thing!

Week 4 of Cultivate Book Club Fall 2016

Chapters 5 & 6 of Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

There must be like 5.2 bazillion songs out there about couples breaking up. Seriously, you can search the radio stations at any given time and find at least one song on a station talking about  the heartache of a couple breaking up. WHY?… because breaking up sucks! It breaks our hearts, it leaves us wounded, and it feels really really bad and sucky.  And mostly because… everyone can relate! When we break up with a boyfriend there’s so much room to lament over it, there’s language to use to describe it, and there’s a basic universal understanding that it’s a painful thing.  However, when it comes to a  friendship break up… not so much.  There’s no songs to lean into or speak to the condition of our hearts. When someone asks “what’s wrong?” it just seems weird to say “Me and Suzy broke up”. But friendship breaks up are real. I wish they weren’t but they are. I know this because I’ve experienced them first hand. And regardless of if you’re the breakup’er or the breakup’ee~ it still sucks!  I’ve been both the unfriended and the unfriender.

At first thought it seems like it’s much better to be the breakup’er doesn’t it? Because then it’s YOU making the choice instead of having the choice made for you. However, having been the unfriender/breakup’er myself before I’m here to tell you that it still sucks! It sucks (and just get ready because I’m going to use the word ‘suck’ a bazillion times because there’s few other words that accurately describe what we’re talking about here) when a friendship that once was the pinnacle of joy for you now is a source of sorrow. It’s quite crazy making actually to try to figure out HOW something and someone that once was so life giving is now causing you pain, frustration, and sucking your soul dry. I know in the few situations I’ve been in like this, the unfriending was never the first  choice, rather it’s was ALWAYS a last resort.

It sucks when you have to come to terms with the truth that the friendship that once was no longer is.  Sometimes the reasons are super clear, “something” happened!  It’s someone’s fault! There is clear blame.  Other times it’s sorta a mystery. Sometimes it’s loud, ugly, in your face, messy.  Other times,  quiet, passive aggressive, distant, and cold (I could argue that this is the worst of the two for me). But, for whatever reason, you feel the friendship as it is (and I think it’s very important to note the phrase as it is here because despite how much you wish it was what it was~ you have to come to terms with what it is)  needs to come to an end. Maybe there’s a competitive spirit involved, maybe it’s lying, anger, co dependency, or jealousy. Maybe the friendship isn’t family friendly (meaning it causes strife among your immediate family members… ie. husband or children).  Is it a friendship that is bonded in being against others or rooted in gossip~ meaning if you made a pact to not talk about anyone else… would you guys still have anything to say? Maybe the friendship isn’t encouraging you to be a better version of yourself, but you see yourself being the worst version of yourself when you’re together.  Maybe it’s a friendship that pulls you away from Jesus instead of pushing you towards Him. Whatever the case, you just know that you know that it isn’t good for you. I think it’s also important to note that being the breakup’er also doesn’t mean that you want it more than the other person, it might just mean that you were brave enough to do it first.  I know for me I spend a lot, like a lot a LOT, of time wishing things were different, wishing what has happened wasn’t true, wishing it was what it once was.  There’s never been a time when I was the breakup’er that I was happy or excited about it. Even as the unfriender, my heart has been broken… I mean B-R-O-K-E-N! There’s never been a time I didn’t grieve and my heart didn’t ache for a long period of time. No one wins when friendships break up, not even the breakup’er.


When you’re the breakup’ee, even if  you have all of the above knowledge and feelings, now rejection has been added into the mix, and let’s be honest… now all we focus on is the sting of the rejection~ even if we know it’s best and right for us too. That’s the thing about rejection~ it completely clouds our judgement and causes us to live feeling anything but loved.  Being unfriended (aka rejected) sucks! Sucks so bad! Especially if it’s not what we want at all.  It makes us question ourselves and others. It can make us call into question our value and worth. “If this person doesn’t like me anymore, am I likeable?” Sometimes we feel replaced or we actually are (let’s just be real) replaced by someone else, this happens. Being replaced sucks.  I literally have had a situation in my life where I would see my (ex) friend and think to myself,  “there’s her new Tammy”.  Guess how that feels? You guessed it… it feels SUCKY!  No one wins in a friendship breakup, especially the breakup’ee because they now only have the loss BUT also the sting and lies rejection leaves with us.

So why do friendships breakup? The answer to this… for a bazillion different reasons, but most of all because we’re a broken people. We’re broken, they’re broken, two broken people in a relationship are going to, well… have some breaks. You’re messy broken places are going to come out on them, and their messy  broken places are going to come out towards you. There’s no getting around this. This is us living in a fallen, broken, sinful world. Some people’s brokenness is going to rub your brokenness all wrong, and your brokenness is going to rub their brokenness all wrong. Typically when we start out as friends we’re in a best foot forward/honeymoon phase. Everything is fun, easy, natural… and then! And then, eventually, as time goes on and life get’s real… inevitably there’s going to be rub. And why some friendships can withstand more rubs than others I have no idea but they just do. And the one’s who can’t… they breakup.

Whether you’re the breakup’er or the breakup’ee here are somethings I know to be true when it comes to friendship breakups:

“THEY” are not the devil.

Although the friendship is over… that person isn’t the devil himself.  STOP IT,  they’re not! You yourself used to love them dearly. WHY?… because there is something loveable about them. In the friendships I’ve lost, especially the one’s that hurt me the most, regardless of who unfriended who, I now try to remind myself of the things that are really great about that person. Which, in the spirit of being real, sometimes is like rubbing salt in the wound because it makes me miss those things, miss what was. BUT it’s still the right thing to do~ to remember the good in them.  If we don’t, we put ourselves in harms way of being prideful and bitter. Two things that are spiritual cancers to our souls. Not worth it I tell you!

“THEY” are not your enemy.

God’s word tell us…

“we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

We have to trust this to be true! We have a real enemy, and as much as it might feel like it,  it is not each other.  Just because a friend isn’t good for YOU doesn’t mean they aren’t good at all. Remember this friends. This matters!  When we are at odds with each other, when we are against each other… we are much more likely  to fall into sin. We dig our heels into being right, so much so that we become so very wrong. We justify unforgiveness, we consider ourselves better than each other when the bible tells us to do just the opposite. All of this~ is a win for our real enemy. The one who wants us to do anything but live loved. The bible says he comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  When we forget who our real enemy is, satan, we do his dirty work for him.  All the while being completely distracted from our true calling, identity, and purpose in Christ. Not to mention being anything BUT a light to this world. Instead, we perpetuate darkness.  Yikes right?! 

And finally,

Friendships are for a season.  

As much as we all wish this wasn’t true, it is. In our heart of hearts we women really do want the idea of the BFFEAE (best friends for ever and ever) to be the real thing.  Some seasons are longer than others, but season’s are still seasons. And instead of being upset that a season with someone ended (even if it ended poorly), instead try to be grateful that there was a season at all. For a time that person was life giving to you, they brought you joy, laughter, companionship. God brought you together for a purpose. In this season~ He had something for each of you to  experience and learn together. Maybe they walked through hard times with you or you with them, maybe you achieved something together (like survived high school, or college, or med school), maybe you were neighbors, or coworkers and that intersected your paths. Whatever it was that brought you together~ be grateful. Thank God for the sweet season in your life, for the person they were to you, for the joy they brought to you, for the things you learned, for the life that was had. By doing this simple act of gratitude you choose grace instead of bitterness. No season is ever a waste, each has it’s own unique beauty and struggle.  Appreciate the beauty of the season

You guys, it’s OK to be sad that things are different, I know I am! It’s natural to miss the good times, to wish things hadn’t changed, but that’s not where we stay~ it’s not real (anymore).  But just because that’s not the real you guys anymore doesn’t mean (and this is what I hope you remember most) that you must be enemies now. It absolutely does not!! It means you aren’t close friends anymore. Here’s what you and I are responsible for…

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

As far as depends on us, live at peace… with the friends who used to be some of our best friends but now we’re not friends anymore… as much as it depends on us~ still be kind to those people.  Whether you were the breakup’er or the breakup’ee… you’re still called to be at peace. And peace in these situations most likely will come in the form of kindness.  Saying hello and a smile when you bump into each other at Target, a simple happy birthday text, or maybe just NOT talking about them behind their backs… all of these are simple acts of kindness. Simple and totally doable! Trust me when I tell you that the fewer enemies you have out there, the better off you’ll be.

Recently I’ve found myself in somewhat of a friendship breakup and my heart is still currently broken.  These are not things I say to you from a place of having conquered them, I’m saying them to you while I’m still ‘in’ them.  As I’ve navigated and wrestled with it, with the who’s fault, with the why’s, with the wishing it was what it was and not what it is, reminding myself they’re not the devil, that they’re not an enemy. All of this! And like I’m encouraging you to do… trying to navigate kindness in what is our new normal. I’ll tell you~ it hasn’t been easy, but I know it’s worth it. I’ve sent  texts letting them know how thankful I am for our season… you know why? because I am. When I see them, I say hi, even if I have to muster up the courage and humility to say it first. Pride wants me to wait for them to say it first, but gratitude and grace urges me to say it first because you know why… as far as depends on me I want to be at peace. 

Friendship breakups suck!<<Told you I was gonna say it a ton>> They just do, there’s no denying it, but in the midst of and in spite of…  we need to remember that although that friendship didn’t work out~ we are still worthy of love and belonging, that there is still great friendships to be had, and that regardless of others we are still deeply and unconditionally loved by God.

Live loved friends,



This week’s statement to hold on to:

“God’s faithfulness is not dependant on my faithfulness” ~ Becca Boganwright

This week’s small group discussion & journal questions: 

  1. In what ways have you been wounded by others that have affected your capacity to trust?
  2. What relationship in your life do you wish you could mend?
  3. How have you allowed your mistrust in people affect your trust in God? Mark 9:24 – “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” Think about the areas that you trust God and the areas that you don’t. Bring this prayer to Him and allow Him to help your areas of unbelief.
  4. What is one specific way you can be a part of mending someone else’s mistrust in people and/or God?
  5. What were your biggest “takeaways” from Chapters 5 and 6?


Cultivate Book Blub

Confession: I’m a Manipulator

Confession: I’m a Manipulator

Week 3 of Cultivate Book Club Fall 2016

Chapters 3 & 4 of Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst

Hi~ I’m Tammy, and I’m a manipulator!

Starting off with those words just feels honest. I don’t consider myself a manipulator, but as I’m becoming real with myself and God about my struggles with others and the issue of rejection, I know it’s true. HOW do I manipulate, you ask? Great question. I manipulate with secret strings of expectations. Expectations I have of others, of which they are completely unaware of, but nonetheless they are there. And as I myself am on the journey of living loved, I’m becoming increasingly aware that much of me not feeling loved, has to do with these secret unmet expectations.

Here’s how this looks for me… I do things for others! Good things. Things that are kind, loving, and serving. These are good things to do, and some part of the doing is rooted in right motives. BUT I’m realizing that an even greater motivation for me lies in these secret expectations. Expectations that if I do for others… all that doing will somehow boomerang back to me, and it’ll earn me love.

Key words here: earn love

And then… I’ll be earning SO MUCH LOVE with all this doing, that surely I’ll feel loved… like really really loved.

Except~ here’s the thing. It didn’t work… It’s still not working! I struggle feeling loved.

Instead I find myself exhausted, constantly comparing the perceived return others are getting for their doing, versus the return I’m getting for my doing… which leaves me bitter and angry and not feeling loved at all! Quite the opposite in fact, it leaves me feeling heartbroken> which makes me feel unsafe> which makes me withdraw> which causes deep divides in friendships> which causes me to feel alone> which leaves me feeling unloved!

“But I….” sent you flowers, bought your lunch, remembered your birthday, let you go first, took you on vacation, let you live in my house, remembered your kids’ special events, made your party really special, listened to your sorrows for hours on end, instead of doing homework with my children or cooking dinner for my husband… the “BUT I’s” are endless. And what I’m really saying is…WHAT ABOUT ME?! Remember all the things?……… You owe me. You owe me love!

SO tangled, messy, and ugly, I know!

But what’s even worse than admitting all of this ^ ^ ^ is realizing that although I say God is first in my life, how not true it’s actually turned out to be. You see, much of my doing does have God in mind… What would He want me to do? What would He want this person to know about his/her worth? But the doing isn’t out of a place of love, it’s out of a place to feel loved. Instead of looking to God to feel loved, I look to others to define my value and worth, and worthiness of love. The doing is somewhat of an acrobatic trick. Like…..“Hey~ look at me! Awesome, right.” (insert ‘thumbs up’ emoji here) RIGHT?! (insert ‘BIG eye-stressed face’ emoji here) I let my value, my worth, my sense of worthiness for love, rise and fall on others. And, as you might imagine, this has turned out to be disastrous for this girl.

So how do I cut ties with this unhealthy, emotionally draining, bitterness seeding, exhausting pattern of trying to earn love?

Good question. I’ll let you know when I figure it out! 🙂 J/K

But seriously~ by getting REAL! REAL is just the starting point!
Real with the fact that I first look for love from others, instead of God. That I put a higher value on the love of others, than the love He has for me. By admitting that I have secret motives when I do things for others. And most importantly, that as much as I want to believe God comes first in my life~ He actually hasn’t/isn’t. Evidence for this looks like this……. He doesn’t have the first moments of my day~ that’s typically reserved for checking Instagram (because seriously~ what could I have possibly missed from just hours before when I went to bed?). He doesn’t have my first attention.That attention is reserved for thoughts like these….… “Hmmm what can I do today so someone will think I’m awesome (( and love me))?”. In reality, He’s over there all like… “I’m right here, I already love you~ no doing necessary”. He isn’t my first go-to when I need help or advice, instead I spend hours worrying, playing through scenarios of how I can best control the outcomes, or I text friends. Prayer of course comes later… after I’m completely stressed out of my mind. I realize that thinking about God, and talking to others about God isn’t the same as spending time with God… and I haven’t been doing much of that. Yep… these are some of the things I’m having to be REAL about.  John 15:7 says,

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,

ask whatever you wish and it will done for you.”

And what do I wish for? I wish to be loved! And the truth is… I never feel more loved than when I’m abiding in Him. When I spend time reading His word, soaking it in, letting it convict me, shape me, cleanse me, love me. And when I abide in Him, when I give Him my first moments, when I go to Him first with my everything-going-on in my life… I feel loved. Loved in the deepest places in my soul. When I abide… I’m reminded that He delights in me, that He dwells with me, and that I am not alone. And I know that when I do this, I’m good! I know who I am, and what I’m worth. And I don’t have to hustle to do for others, as a reminder. I already know. When I’m abiding in Him~ all the doing for others comes out of the right motives, not the secret one with strings attached.

So the answer to “How do I cut ties with this unhealthy, emotionally draining, bitterness seeding, exhausting pattern of trying to earn love?” Get Real + Abide!

And this is my recommendation to you, as you journey towards living loved as well….Get Real about where you’re looking for love, and what behaviors you’re doing to find it. Are there any hidden motives involved? Do you struggle (like me) feeling loved by others because you have unrealistic expectations that honestly no one could ever meet, and how these unmet/unrealistic expectations might be at the root of some of the rejection experiences that have caused us to question our worthiness of love? Then ABIDE. Let Him be the source that is filling you with love. Be reminded that He delights in you and dwells in you. When you are full of His love, you will be more able to live loved!

Live loved friends,


This week’s statement to hold on to:

“If I’m rooted,  rejection may discourage me but it won’t destroy me” ~ Melody Workman

This week’s small group discussion & journal questions: 

  1. Was there a time in your life when you experienced rejection? What was that like and how did you feel?
  1. Why does isolation feel safer than connection sometimes? Do you struggle with going into your “cave” when you’ve been rejected?
  1. Read Ephesians 3:14-19. What do these verses tell you about Jesus’ love for you? How does that make you feel?
  1. What’s your biggest struggle with living loved? How can you practice this on a daily basis?
  1. Is there someone you have rejected? Or treated unfairly? Is there someone who has rejected you? How can you reach out to them with the love of Jesus this week?
  1. Spend time praying together. That each one of you can live these truths out in practical ways this week.