Archive for June, 2009

June 24, 2009

Don’t you KNOW what The Bible says, Rod Smith?

by Rod Smith

“You advise women to stand up to their jealous or controlling husbands. Don’t you know the Bible says wives must submit to husbands?” Don’t you know the Bible says the MAN is the ruler of the house and family?”

Green-eyed monster!

Green-eyed monster!

I do – know somethings. But there is, of course, a lot I don’t know. Paul says, “wives submit to your husbands,” and one can safely assume Paul is, in all of his letters, addressing both men and women. A husband who loves according to Paul is both safe and worthy of submission! But, beware of any man whose knowledge of Scripture begins, and ends, with “wives submit to your husbands” and the man (or woman) who is looking to be ruled or for a ruler! Loving men have no desire (or craving) for the submission (obedience) of others.

Submitting (“giving in”) to jealousy or controlling or abusive behavior is certainly not very helpful to the marriage, the husband or wife.

Take Up Your Life

Take Up Your Life

The Bible doesn’t require anyone to submit (accept, obey) anyone’s pathological behavior, whether it is from a spouse, pastor, or any leader. To resist (stand up to) pathological behavior, however it rears its ugly head, is to do the perpetrator (spouse, pastor, leader) a loving service. Submitting to damaging behavior can hardly result in enduringly helpful outcomes.

Sadly, I have seen women hang onto the hope that the husband will eventually change (stop drinking, beating, swearing, and go to church!) if she just learns to really “submit.” I’ve seem woman who believe the husband’s behavior is BECAUSE she has not learned to truly submit. Sad, sad, sad.

No. The monster (jealousy) will not go away if continually fed. It only gets more demanding, more unruly, more insatiable.

June 24, 2009

A is for Autonomy

by Rod Smith

Please go to www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/727591 and click on BUY.

June 24, 2009

The self and “self”-protection….

by Rod Smith

The deepest recess, where soul, spirit, body, intellect collide and connect and have their enduring party

The deepest recess, where soul, spirit, body, intellect collide and connect and have their enduring party


One failure of the so-called dysfunctional family (I prefer “higher” or “lower” functioning family) is a family’s inability to protect the emerging self (the sense of self, soul, spirit, inner being, heart) of persons in the family.

Characteristics of the self:
1. It is beautiful (created by God as the unique expression of who you are to the world). Even the “worst” person has, hidden beneath it all, a beautiful self.
2. It is relational (naturally wants to relate and engage). Every act – think about it – is an act of relationship.
3. It is sexual (naturally wants to procreate, build and nurture something larger than its-self). Nothing can be done to escape our gender; it is inextricably woven deeply within and finds expression in everything we do.
4. It naturally desires to engage in worship (naturally wants to ascribe greatness). This explains why BMWs, children, houses are “worshiped.”
5. It is enduring (it doesn’t change much in a lifetime). Parents say things like, “From the day he could walk he’s been a determined person.”
6. It is regenerative (naturally seeks to mend and heal). Like the body is always in a state of regeneration, so is the self.
7. It is resilient (can tolerate and survive enormous pain and suffering). Humans have endured untold horror when it has been inflicted upon them.
8. It is creative (naturally thinks outside its-self) and resourceful. It is the powerhouse (engine room) within every person.
9. It can be fed, trained, encouraged (one person can take better care of a self than another) and can grow.
10. Unfortunately, it can be starved, neglected (can wilt away without nurturing) and can give up the fight.
11. It is the place from within which people are able to want, to express desire; it is the center of desire within us.

Take Up Your Life

Take Up Your Life

Although the self within us all usually has a huge repertoire of protection mechanisms, when and if it is damaged, it is usually slow in healing. While the self is difficult to damage, considering its incredible resilience, it can be damaged. A damaged self displays the impacts of hurt and trauma most vividly in relational difficulties, in matters of closeness and intimacy. The effects of damage and trauma to a self can apparently leave a person quite unaffected regarding distant or impersonal encounters. It is in intimacy, in close friendships, that the damage most vividly reveals its presence. When in relationship, a person with a damaged self will find himself unable to “be him-self.”

June 23, 2009

What does Open Hand mean?

by Rod Smith

Pictured at the Sydney Zoo (2010)

Open your hand using all your strength. Stretch your fingers. Allow the lines on your palm to feel as though they might tear apart. Study the contours, colors, ridges and valleys, joints, dents and spaces. Push, pull, and rub. Move your fingers through their paces: together, apart, back, forward, curved, strained and relaxed, cooperative yet unique. Feel the texture and every curve. Touch the crevices. Spread your hand further, turn it at the wrist, examine and compare patterns from every angle. Here are pieces of yourself you might never have studied.

Your hands are your constant companions. They have met the needs of others, pioneered romantic moments and worn rings of commitment. They are the way your heart leaves fingerprints, the eyes at the end of your arms. Hands reflect a person’s being and are the front line agents of your life. If eyes are said to be the windows of a soul, hands express the soul.

Hold other people with your hand thoroughly open. Allow them to know the warmth and welcome of your hand, investigate its curves and benefit from its scars. Invite others to follow the lines into the fabric of your life and see the risks you have taken and the adventures that are yours. Allow them to wrestle and rest, search, see and speak. Let them stay; let them go, but let them find your hand always open.

The Open Hand of friendship, at its widest span, is most rewarding, most challenging and most painful, for it enduringly acknowledges the freedom others have while choosing

Rod@TakeUpYourLife.com

Rod@TakeUpYourLife.com

not to close upon, turn on, coerce, or manipulate others. In such friendships, expectations and disappointments become minimal and the reward is freedom. As others determine a unique pace within your open hand, they will see freedom and possibly embrace their own with excitement and pleasure.

Openhanded people do not attempt to “fix” others, change, or control others even for their own good. Rather, each person is given freedom to learn about life in his own way. Openhanded people, instead, express kindly and truthfully what they think and feel, when asked, knowing even in the asking, others might not be interested or willing to learn.

The Open Hand is not naive. It is willing to trust, while understanding and accepting that no person is all good or all bad, and that all behavior has meaning. The Open Hand is convinced it cannot change others; it cannot see or think or feel or believe or love or see for others, but trusts people to know what is good themselves. It will not strong-arm, pursue or even attempt to convince others because it has little investment in being right, winning or competing. Here is offered a core-freedom of the deepest and most profound nature: allowing others to live without guilt, shame and expectation.

Further, the Open Hand offers oneself freedom that extends to one’s memories, ambitions, failures and successes. This allows for growth of enduring intimacy, greater personal responsibility, authentic autonomy, and the possibility of meaningful relationships with others.

In the discovery of a closed hand, even at the end of your own arm, do not try to pry it open. Be gentle. Allow it to test the risky waters of freedom. As it is accustomed to being closed and fist-like, it will not be easily or forcefully opened. So let the closed-handed do their own releasing and trusting, little by little, and in their own time and manner.

When openhanded people meet, lives connect in trust, freedom and communion. Community is set in motion. Creativity is encouraged. Mutual support is freely given. Risks are shared. Lives are wrapped in the safety of shared adventure and individual endeavor all at the same time.

Rod Smith, July 1997 / Copyright

June 23, 2009

Please paste this into your browser and take a look….

by Rod Smith

http://www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/727591

June 23, 2009

How can I get him to talk about marrying me?

by Rod Smith

“I have been seeing a man for two years. We’re both in our early thirties. I really want to get married but he never talks about. How can I get him to talk about marrying me and about where this relationship is going? We need more communication.”

Rod@TakeUpYourLife.com

Rod@TakeUpYourLife.com


1.“No communication” is impossible. You are missing what is already being said. Couples often think the issue is “more communication” and fail to hear what is already being communicated. He is “telling” you that he has no interest in being married to you.
2. The passive “partner” runs the relationship. The frustrations you already feel will become life long frustrations if you do marry. If you have to work this hard before you are married do you think being married will be any easier? There’s power in being passive and he’s got it. You’re working this thing as if your life depends on it and he is silent.
3. The harder you work, the more passive he will become. He has all the power and leverage because, in seeking it, you have given it to him. This is a simple, albeit perverse, law of relationships.
4. He has already decided where this relationship is “going.” You get to decide if you will go “nowhere” with him.
5. Can it be redeemed? Perhaps. Start by completely backing off. Emulate his passivity. It might jump-start him into action. Then again, it might not.

June 22, 2009

“Support” Group – how to be sure you never grow up

by Rod Smith

Take up your life

Take up your life

Marsha is divorced. When she walks through the door her divorce follows her like a bridal train. Trampled, it catches on every door keeping her from new beginnings.

“Hello, I’m Marsha,” she says looking at the group, “I don’t think you could like me very much. I cannot get over my husband of six years. If I work at it you will also abandon me.” She turned to the person next to her indicating politely that she was done introducing herself.

“I’m Kyle, thirty going on twelve. I don’t do relationships very well. It’s my dad. He drank a lot. Don’t expect me to be responsible, reasonable or respectful. If I get over him what will I do about my identity? It’s not so nice to meet all of you. You remind me of my dad.”

“Martin here,” he says, stepping into the middle of the room, “I had teachers who expected a lot from me. They gave me homework, expected me to read for myself. Cruel teachers. They are the reason I’m an underachiever today. They’re the reason I cannot hold down a job. I think I’ll sue.”

“Annabel is my name. I hate spring. It means summer’s coming. I’ll have to go outdoors and see people. Grandma had favorites. I wasn’t one of them. She’s why I don’t go out and I don’t like the sun. If it wasn’t for her, I’d be fun.”

“When I know you a little better you can know my name,” she says skirting the room, “Ok, I’ll chance it. My name is May. My neighbors made fun of me when I was growing up. It’s their fault that I cannot stay with one man. I need constant approval. Not like June over there.”

“Thanks May, I can handle this myself. I’m June. I have got to smoke to calm my nerves (dad smoked), drink to ease my boredom (mom drank) and cuss to get my way (my husband taught me to cuss). It’s the government. They do not treat me very well. Expecting me to work is the most unfair thing I’ve ever heard.”

“Move over June. I am Bob. I have got something to say. I’d be thin if it wasn’t for all those commercials for food all around America. I think I’ve got a case here. My health’s in trouble yet they keep advertising those tasty hamburgers. Anyone got a lawyer friend who wants to do pro bono?”

“I’m Anthony. What are you all doing away from your TVs? Get back in there. How will you ever know who survived, who died, who loved, who married their brother’s ex-wife the third time around. How do you expect to know anything if you keep getting away from the TV?”

“Dakota’s my name. I’ve got a very rare disease that cannot be named. But I am really tired of all this expectation placed on me. My dad just says I’m lazy, but what would he know, he’s worked all his life.”

Glen, who doesn’t talk, steps forward. Once he said something funny, people laughed so he’s never talked again in public. He’s waiting for an apology from somewhere before he moves on.

Norman doesn’t stand still. He’s high. He’s so high you do not want to get in his way. It’s the dealers who got to him. Drugs were just way too available and now he is not.

“I’m Doug, the group leader. With introductions complete, let’s begin with our group meditation:

‘Keep me mindful of my woes
And all who stepped upon my toes
Let my life be full of blame,
So I can always stay the same.’”

June 22, 2009

Moms Matter

by Rod Smith

Take up your life

Take up your life

Readers regularly ask me for lists of local professionals and resources. While scouring the Web for helpful family resources in Kwa-Zulu Natal I came upon an inspiring, innovative enterprise for Mothers at http://www.MomsMatter.co.za. Go there. Moms, dads, grandparents, teachers, and mental health practitioners, sign up. It’s free! Get the newsletter. Join the community. I believe you will be inspired by the warm welcome and the array of attractive things available for mothers AND fathers AND families right on your doorstep.

The website, initiated and facilitated by Deborah Andrews, is doing its job of connecting mothers with opportunities, mothers with each other, and tries to make life a little easier for all in the midst of rearing children of all ages.

Writes Deborah: “It may be a kid’s world ‘out there’ but Moms Matter too! We strive to provide access to resources that can help make your lives a little easier with heaps of stuff you need to know all in one place.” The site includes a comprehensive holiday activity guide for the mid-year break with tons of suggestions of things for families and children to do. It’s a website created by a Mom for Moms who sees that “we’re all in this mommy-thing together!”

June 21, 2009

Easing the impact of divorce for children (if it is possible)…

by Rod Smith

Help your child take up his or her life... despite your divorce.

Help your child take up his or her life... despite your divorce.

Pain is an inevitable result of almost all divorce and hardly anyone in a family escapes it. The enduring stress, the separation period preceding the divorce, the event itself, and the process of adjustment, all impact family members. When divorce is regarded as a process, and not an event, the impact is likely to be somewhat eased. Out of the ruins of a broken marriage people do not easily embrace such principles. These are goals to work toward. Doing so is likely to ease the impact of divorce upon the children. It is worthwhile noting that remaining married is often easier than becoming divorced. There will be times when being divorced (from a person) is more difficult than being married (to that same person). Assuming no sexual abuse or violence has occurred, the following attitudes expressed by both adults will allow for the best outcome when two adults divorce:
[The writer assumes the reader understands age and development appropriateness]

1. We will discuss the divorce with you, together, on a regular basis. We will not hold it as something vague or secretive.
2. We are divorced (are no longer husband and wife) but we remain your parents.
3. It is our divorce, not yours. The implications affect everybody, but it remains our divorce.
4. We were once happy as husband and wife and you were born out of our love. We found parenting to be rich and rewarding. (Ignore if not true).
5. We will always help and protect you and willingly cooperate with each other concerning you.
6. You have done nothing to cause our divorce and nothing you do will restore our marriage.
7. We will say nothing negative about each other, ever, anywhere, and to anyone. We will “hold our peace” with each other once the legal aspects of the divorce are over.
8. We will not use you as a go-between (message bearer, mail-carrier, anxiety lightening rod) between us.
9. When you face inevitable choices, we will clearly communicate with you about your options. When this is impossible, we will tell you why it is impossible.
10. When choices cannot be made easier, we will do all we can to make them clearer. You will always have as much choice as your age can accommodate.
11. We will support each others values and rules and will try to establish a similar atmosphere in each home.
12. We want you to do well in life. Our failure at marriage does not mean you will failure at life (or marriage, or child-rearing, or school, or politics, or staying sober).
13. We cannot predict the future, but we will both talk about it with you as we see it developing. You will have as much information as possible about your family and about you.
14. You will have as much power over your life as is age appropriate.
15. You will be able to visit both extended families. Your extended family will be as helpful to you about our divorce as we are. They are also committed to speaking only well of each of your parents. (Ignore if untrue. Let this be a goal if it is untrue).
16. You have permission to embrace any person each parent might include in his or her life. Accepting and loving a stepparent some day, will not be regarded as disloyalty. You might even choose to call that person “mother” or “father” without resistance from either of your parents.
17. All the adults (step and biological parents) will regularly meet, all at one table, to discuss matters relating to you.
18. We will try to lessen the amount of travel between homes so that you might be as settled as possible.
19. Failure at any venture on your part is not because of the divorce. Many people have had divorced parents and have made successes of their lives. You can do the same.

June 20, 2009

His lover is alcohol…

by Rod Smith

“My father cheated on my beautiful mother for many years. He married the 100th ‘affair.’ For 25 years she never dated again, never said a word, but loved him all her life. I am married for the third time: met my husband two years ago, moved to another continent, gave up everything to be with him. My ‘knight in shining armor’ has not told me that he doesn’t love me anymore, but he might as well have. The emotional abuse is terrible; the things that are said remain in my heart like a knife. I try to forgive and forget. I am in a strange country, have no friends and nobody to turn to. Why do we take this? I see myself as a strong, independent woman, but lately have turned into a quivering, blubbering please-don’t-hurt-me idiot. My husband’s ‘lover’ is alcohol and I cannot compete. I am in new country, alone, still trying to hang on.” (Edited)

Take up your life

Take up your life

Your parents’ sad past is irrelevant. I will agree that it is interesting since it appears that you and your mother are (and were) willing to put up with disregard and indifference from the men on your lives, but knowing this will not help you out of this current situation. The knight you most need is the one living within you. In the stark reality of any day soon, summon your independent nature, take responsibility for your decisions and actions (the ones that got you here), and begin to plan our way out of victim-hood. You can do this. The reserves of strength are in you. How do I know? Well, moving countries is not easy, even if you were in the arms of whom you thought to be a knight in shining armor. And, in the midst of your trauma, pain, and unhappiness, you accessed this website, wrote a letter to other readers of these posts – and, while this is common, it does take some savvy. You have it, dear reader. You have all it takes to get yourself out of this and deliver yourself to your home-turf just as you had what it took to get yourself into this in the first place. TAKE UP YOUR LIFE!