The Squeezings of my Brain Grapes.
How Do I Move On From A Broken Relationship?

Anonymous asked:
How do you ‘move on’ from a broken relationship?

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey my friend,

Sometimes in life, there are answers that are simple, but not easy.  This is one of them.  How do you move on?  Simple – you move on.

Generally speaking, most of us know what it means to move on from a relationship.  In the case of a messed-up romantic relationship, that means leaving it completely behind.  Cutting off contact on Facebook and Twitter, etc.  Shipping anything of theirs that we still have back to them so they don’t have a reason to be in touch.  If it hasn’t happened, having a conversation with that person where we state – clearly and succinctly – “We are over.  I don’t want to talk further.  I don’t want to hang further.  There is no more us.  This is the end.”

But, as simple as that is to describe, it isn’t easy.  In fact, taking steps like that are terrifying, because, what if you’re wrong?  What if this is your last shot at love?  What if no one else will ever want you, ever again?  What if, deep down, they’re a really cool person, and you’re really just a jerk?

We’ve all had these thoughts.

When we’re dealing with a platonic relationship – say, with a family member – the details are different, but the principle is the same.  If it’s not something where we can or should completely cut contact, we set firm boundaries.  We make it clear what we will and will not put up with, and what the consequences are for violating those boundaries.  (Ex: “It’s not cool for you to be disrespectful about my faith.  When you do that, I’m going to get up and leave Thanksgiving dinner.”)   We spend as little time with that person as possible.  And we do so in a guarded way – we’re not revealing anything intimate about our lives.

But, again, what if you’re wrong?  What if family is the most important thing and you’re just terrible?  What if “they’re just loving you in their own way” and you’re too selfish to appreciate it?  What if?

Again, we’ve all experienced this line of thinking.

What we need here is courage – that little talked about Christian virtue.  Courage means walking forward in the face of fear.  It means saying to your doubts, “I can’t prove that you’re wrong, but I’m moving forward anyway.”  And it means one more thing: taking hold of something new.

The last part of moving on from a broken relationship is going out, and building new, and good relationships.

There exist in the world cool, kind-hearted people that would love to be a friend to you.  There exist Christians that would love to walk this life alongside you, and be a family to you.  And, yes, there exists a total hottie who loves Jesus, and would also love to date you.

The thing we need is to go find these people – at church, or Younglife, or school, or whatever – and strike up a conversation.  We need to be vulnerable enough to build new relationships.  To offer people the trust they earn, so that intimacy can grow.  To not hold the sins of our old, broken relations against the new friends we are meeting.

You can do that.  You can do this.  Pray up, and take that first step.  I believe in you.

How Do I Know Who To Love?

holyhotnessbypvi asked:
Hi, Jed. I’d like to squeeze your brain grapes for a second. :-) How can I avoid ‘favoritism’ about whom I show agape love to? In other words, how do I force myself to love everyone equally? Thanks and God bless!

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey Sis,

LOL!  Nicely done – I’ve been doing this blog a long time, and you’re the first person to ever actually reference that title!

So, the bad news is that you aren’t going to be able to show agape – selfless, unconditional, Godly – love to everyone in the whole world.  That just isn’t possible.  You aren’t Jesus, so, like me, you’re dealing with some significant limitations.

Given that you can’t show that love to everyone, everywhere, at all times, we’re going to have to choose who gets your time, attention, and love.  So, that means that the really important question is, how do we decide who gets it?

The best way to answer that question is to begin asking God for a burden.  That is, a weight of love on your heart that compels you to act, and one that is focused on a given group of people, or situation, or place.

Then, get into the motion of serving.  Try serving in a variety of situations – the local jail, the church nursery, the homeless shelter, the fifth-grade Sunday school class.  When you go to serve in a new situation, pay attention to what’s going on inside of you.  I’ll bet that, sooner or later, in one of these situations, it’ll feel a bit like a bell is ringing in your head.  Like there’s a sense of having come home.

Sink yourself into that situation.  Ask God to break your heart for those people, to fill your heart with the Love he has for them, to help you to see them from His perspective, to see their potential, and not just their problems.

Now, let’s come back to your original question.  The funny thing about favoritism is that it happens everywhere in life, and, 99% of the time, no one cares.  But there are certain situations – families being chief among them – where favoritism really wounds people, and badly.

If that’s a part of your experience, I’m really sorry.  Someday, you may have children of your own, and God does not want you to show favoritism there, and you won’t need to. He’ll make sure you have the energy to love each of your children well and equitably.

But don’t let the fact that some people practice inappropriate favoritism in some areas of their lives keep you from pursuing the calling that God has on your life.  This is, after all, an apples-to-oranges comparison.  

You asked how to force yourself to love everyone equally.  My answer is: Don’t.  Instead, ask God to show you your mission field, and then love those people extravagantly.

Should Trust Be Freely Given?

Anonymous asked:
Where’s the line between self-sacrifice and self-respect? i’m still learning the whole thing between earning trust even as we freely give it. i got screwed over by a lot of church people the past 3 years over this issue. i felt like i was always manipulated to love = blind trust.

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey my friend,

I’m sorry you’ve been through a rough time.  It sucks, and it’s not OK that folks treated you the way they did.

Trust should never be “freely given”.  Ever.  Trust should only ever be earned.

Blind trust, at least as far as trust in other people goes, is not a Christian concept.  And anyone asking you to place blind trust, or unearned trust, in them is asking you to do something unchristian, and unwise.

Love, of course, is a gift.  And love should be freely given.  But trust is totally different.

Here’s what the Bible says:

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1, NIV)

Here, the Apostle John is commanding us to exercise something called discernment.  Discernment means observing and evaluating whether a given situation is jacked up or not.

In even more plain language, here’s that same verse from The Message:

“My dear friends, don’t believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.”

In other words, John is saying – make people earn your trust.  Let them prove that they are Godly before you put them in that box in your head.

Here’s how that went down with Jesus:

“Now while [Jesus] was in Jerusalem…many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people.”

Think about that for a second.  Jesus is doing his thing, living his life, and he has people rolling up on him talking all, “Woohoo!  Jesus rulez!  He so awesome!!  Wooooo!”

And Jesus knew that, while it was lovely that they seemed to think he was great (at least for the moment), that didn’t mean it was wise to start trusting them. 

Well, so it is with you and I.  They fact that people roll up on us talking a good God-game doesn’t mean anything. Really, it’s just noise.

By contrast, real trust come in when people earn it.  That is to say, when people say one thing, and then live that thing out.

When a person says they believe in you, and then puts their time, money, and energy into helping you succeed – they are earning your trust.

When a person says they love you, and then puts your needs ahead of their own – they are earning your trust.

When Jesus says he forgives you, and then he climbs up on the cross – well, you see my point.

Let’s take a look at the first part of your question tomorrow.  But, for tonight, remember that trust is earned.  And that people following in Jesus’ example should never have a problem with that – because our Savior put his words into action.

Love Isn’t Earned

If you’ve ever worked a job, you know that the arrangement is really simple.  When you do what the boss tells you, he likes you.  And when you don’t, he doesn’t.  Do a good job long enough, and you get a promotion.  Do a bad job long enough, and you get fired.

In fact, most relationships in life feel that way.  If we’ve dated somebody before, we’ve seen this same dynamic at work. When you’re a good and attentive boyfriend, it tends to go well for you in the land.  And when you forget birthdays, anniversaries, and favorite colors, you tend to get dumped.

Some of us have had this experience with our parents.  When we got good grades and made the cut for the team or the orchestra or whatever, things were peaceful.  And when we screwed up, disapproval rained down from on high.

So, it makes a whole lot of sense to assume that the relationship between you and God would work the same way.

Except that it doesn’t.  At all.

Real love – which is to say God’s love – is never earned.  It isn’t increased when you do good things, and it isn’t decreased when you do bad things.  This is because God’s love is not an evaluation of your performance.  In fact, God’s love for you and your behavior don’t have anything to do with each other.  They are not connected.

So, what is God’s love about, exactly?

It turns out that God’s love is a decision he made to be devoted to your good, no matter what.  It’s a decision that he made before time itself even existed – in other words, before you had had a chance to do anything good or bad.  (Ephesians 1:3-6, MSG)

This matters, because it means that you can relax.  You will – like the rest of us – make mistakes.  You will do things that are wrong, and that you know are wrong, and that you know you shouldn’t do, and that you decide to do anyway.  And, when those moments come, some part of you is going to wonder where you stand with God as a result.

Sure, if God were a boss, you might get fired.  And if God were a boyfriend, you might get dumped.  And if God were an earthly parent, you might get disowned.

But God isn’t any of those things.  God is God. He’s holy – which is to say, different.  He doesn’t think like anybody else.  And he doesn’t act like anybody else.

No, when those moments come, what you’ll find is that God is just as devoted to your good as he was before you did that thing.  In other words, he loves you exactly as much as he did before you sinned. 

So you can relax.  You can go to him and say, “I’m sorry I did that wrong thing.  Please help me get back up.”  And He will stand you up, brush you off, and help you keep on walking with Him. 

“This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.” (1 John 4:10, MSG)

Your Broken Heart Is Not The End

Some of us have a broken heart because we were asked-out, loved, and then cast-aside.

Some of us have a broken heart because no one ever bothered to ask in the first place.

Some of us have a broken heart because promises were made to us and then broken.

And some of us have a broken heart because no one ever made any promises to begin with.

No matter how your heart was broken, know this: your broken heart is not the end.

You are not less than who you once were.  You are not a discounted version of who you could have been.  You are not cheap, easy, forgettable, or forgotten.

What you are is in the middle of your story.  

And we are confident of this: He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.

Your broken heart is not the end.  Your story does not, and will not, end with a broken heart, broken promises, or broken love.

Your story ends with the culmination of the greatest romance the Universe has ever seen, when the One that has pursued you all your life carries you in his arms across the threshold of his home.  A Lover cradling his Love.  A Husband holding his Bride.  And where your heart is whole, complete, and cherished forever.

Your broken heart is not the end.

If You Get Confused Today…

…Remember this one thing: God loves you.

He loves you, right now, today, exactly where you are.

Exactly how you are.

He isn’t confused about you.  He gets that you’re a sinner.  He loves you anyway.

He isn’t unsure about you.  He made you with a plan and a purpose.  And he still wants to give it to you.

He isn’t far from you.  He’s been pursuing you this whole time.

No matter what, no matter where, God loves you.

If it’s today, tomorrow, or ten years from now - when you next lose your bearings, get confused, get lost, that’s the compass that will guide you back home.

God loves you.

Love Is Worth It

princessaguzie asked you:
Hey Jed. I have a question that’s been brewing in my mind for a minute. I know God is all-powerful and He knows the beginning to the end. I’m guessing He knew that Eve would bite that apple and sin would come into the world..right? If He knew sin was coming, why did he create man? Why didn’t He just have that nevermind phase. If Eve never bit the apple, Jesus wouldn’t have died, people wouldn’t be in hell and suffering wouldn’t exist. If all of this could have been avoided, why didnt He stop it?

Jed Brewer replied:

So, you might have seen on my twitter feed recently that I was driving around blaring some old school Garth Brooks.  (I have to feed my inner redneck now and then.)  And there’s a great song by brother Garth that goes like this:

“I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance.”

What he’s pointing to is that, at the end of the day, Love Is Worth It.

The day I married my wife, I signed up for a lifetime of arguments, miscommunications, and compromises – because all human relationships contain those.  And, I signed up for the fact that, one day, I will lose her, or she will lose me.  But I gladly signed up anyway because Love Is Worth It.  When I’m with my wife, just the two of us together, with my arms around her, it’s the greatest thing in the world.  There’s nothing I wouldn’t deal with in order to have that.  It’s worth it.

And so it is with God and man.  Yes, when God created man and gave him free will, you’re right, in his omniscience, he had to know all of the evil crap that would happen.  But He knew something else, too: Love Is Worth It.

You can’t have love without free will.  It just doesn’t exist.  But the same free will that can allow you to act like a jerk and ruin somebody’s day can also allow you to choose God and his presence in your life.  And when you start to let God into your heart and you start to be transformed by that, it’s the most beautiful thing that has ever existed, and there’s an impossible Love that exists there and It Is Worth It.

And, of course, God knew one other thing.  He knew that, at the end of everything, he would wipe the tears from our eyes.  He would do what only he can, which is to make everything sad come untrue.  He would make all the wrong and evil and terribleness as though it never was.  As it turns out, God can heal anything, God can fix anything, God can make anything truly new.  But he will not force that on us, because that isn’t love.  Love is chosen.  And Love, sis – God’s incredible Love – Is Worth It.

“I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God makes his home with people. He will live with them. They will be his people. And God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or sadness. There will be no more crying or pain. Things are no longer the way they used to be.” He who was sitting on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” “ (Revelation 21:3-5, NIRV)

What’s So Great About Sex, Vol. 4

What’s So Great About Sex? – Vol. 4

Quick Intro:
In this series, we’re taking a look at the way God designed sex to work within marriage, and how awesome it is.  We’re specifically looking at a book in the Bible called “Song of Solomon”, which comes right before Isaiah.  The whole book is about how great sex is within marriage.  In fact, it’s an explicit conversation between a husband and wife.  Seriously – check it out.

Today: Real Excitement!

Trying to play it cool is a torture.  Think about a highlight in your life – maybe it was making the cut for a sports team, or getting an answer right in class, or getting good feedback on a painting you did.  Some part of you, in that moment, is sure that you need to play it cool.  Don’t get too excited.  Just shrug your shoulders and mumble the words, “Whatever”, and that way people will think you’re cool.  We’ve all done that.

Well, see, that’s the way most people approach dating relationships, and especially in regards to sexuality.  You’re supposed to be cool, and play it cool, and not get too excited, and, sure, hey, you know, sex is cool, whatever, if you’re into that.

The problem here is that this playing-it-cool approach takes all of the fun away.  When something awesome happens, allowing yourself to be excited and blown away and overwhelmed is a big part of the experience.  And it’s one God wants for you.  Here’s our passage:

“[The Wife says]

My lover is already on his way to his garden,
   to browse among the flowers, touching the colors and forms.

[The Husband says]

Your beauty is too much for me—I’m in over my head.
   I’m not used to this! I can’t take it in.” (Song of Solomon 6:2-5, various, MSG)

OK, so, when the wife is talking about “his garden”, she’s referring to her body.  So, she’s saying that her husband is coming to, well, explore her body.  Now, note the husband’s response.  He doesn’t say, “Yeah, you know, that’s cool.  Whatever.”  And he doesn’t put on the false bravado of, “Hey, let me show you my moves!”

No, instead, he says, “This is too much.  I’m in over my head.  I can’t even take it all in.”  He’s blown away.

Dude, how awesome, and real, and sweet, and authentic is that?  He’s there with his wife, who is sans clothing, and he’s a kid-in-a-candy-store.  And that’s just right.  He doesn’t need to be smooth.  He doesn’t need to be fashionably disinterested.  He can be honest about the fact that his wife is so beautiful, and alluring, that she reduces him to a simple expression of, “Whoa.  Just…whoa.”

Sex is a beautiful and mysterious thing.  In truth, it should reduce all of us to, “Whoa.”  It is physical, and emotional, and spiritual, all at once.  It is this miraculous moment where love brings two people into a total union and (can) create a wholly new, unique life as the outcome.  To that, I say,  “Whoa.”  And so should you.

But, on a more basic level, when a total hottie (which is how you will see your spouse) stands before you, naked, and says, “I’m all yours; have fun,” the only right response is “Whoa.”  The only fun response is, “Whoa.”  The only Godly response is, “Whoa.”  And anything less is, in fact, an insult to your beloved, as though you’re jaded because everywhere you go, people disrobe and offer themselves to you.  (Hint: they don’t.)

No, that’s no good.  Excitement suits you.

This is what God wants for you.  A sex life that reduces you to “whoa.”  Beauty and seduction and allure that reduces you to “whoa.”  Authenticity where your spouse receives your speechlessness as the highest of praise.  This is what awaits you, and it’s worth waiting for.

thebridgechicago:

from Jed Brewer’s song “The Easy Part is Hard”, about the struggle to believe that God loves us.
Get it on iTunes

thebridgechicago:

from Jed Brewer’s song “The Easy Part is Hard”, about the struggle to believe that God loves us.

Get it on iTunes

Do I Love God First? Or Is It Vice-Versa?

myheartisonfireallforyou asked you:
i was just reading your post called, ‘i’m tomrented by lust.” in it, you said, “Read the story of the treasure hidden in a field (Matthew 13:44) and decide to believe that the treasure God sold everything to have is you.” is that what that story is about? I thought that story was about “sellling” all we have in order to live for God.

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey Liz,

Thanks for your question.  It’s a good one, and, you know, when I was growing up in church, I thought the exact same thing.

Here’s the verse we’re talking about:

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Matthew 13:44, NIV)

So, is this a story about how God feels about us?  Or, is it a story about how we feel about God?  The answer is that it’s both.  The story is about both of those things.  But one of them comes first, and the order is critically important.

The Bible says, “We love because He first loved us.”  (1 John 4:19)  This Christian life does not begin with us beholding God, deciding He’s important, and trying to be made right with him.  Nope.  This Christian life begins with us as sinners, separated from God, and helpless to do anything about it, and a God who “demonstrates his own love us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

See, God saw you, and, when everybody else saw an empty field, a vacant lot, filled with overgrown weeds, broken beer bottles, and discarded trash, God saw something else.  He saw someone He loved, a lost child that he would adopt and make his own, and that makes you a treasure he would – and did – give up anything and everything to have.

God found you, saw you, desired you, and paid the cost to have you.  That’s what this story is about.

But, see, when we receive God’s love for us – when it seeps into the deep places in our hearts – a funny thing happens.  We begin to love God in return.  And we begin to realize that, compared to God’s love for us, nothing else matters all that much.

Here’s what Paul said:

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8, NLT)

When I was younger, I read verses like that one from Philippians, and thought that was the way I was supposed to feel.  And then I would feel guilty, because I didn’t feel that way.  And if that’s something you’ve experienced, I’m sorry.

But, see, what Paul is describing here is a love for God that only comes out of knowing how desperately God loves him.  Paul had experienced God’s love in a way that had changed him to his very core.  That’s why he knew it was a treasure.

Each of us have to experience that Love for ourselves.  We cannot – and should not – try to skip ahead to just thinking God’s super duper amazing without having our own personal experience of God’s love.  And when we do have our own, personal experience of God’s love, we realize that we don’t need to manufacture anything.  Love overflows.  That’s it’s nature.  God’s love in our hearts bubbles up inside of us until we can’t contain it, and we just have to love God in return, and the people around us.

The truth, Liz, is that you are God’s treasure.  And the only way for you to truly treasure God is to first let him treasure you.