Category Archives: Psychology

Self-differentiation: One of the Greatest Gifts You Can Receive

I wish someone had told me sooner, when I was much younger that the more you depend on others for how you feel the worse you are going to feel. It has taken me the vast majority of my life to figure this out and I am glad I did. The moment I stopped worrying about what other people thought about me and started being only focused on what God thought about me was the moment I finally found security.

I find so many people who are so worried about what everyone else thinks. That way of living has too much anxiety for me. If I am only okay if you are okay I will never be secure because I cannot guarantee you are going to be constantly okay. I cannot control you and you cannot control me and so we are going to have to get along well enough with not always being okay.

In order to do this I have to know what makes me, me and you, you. This is differentiation. I have to know the difference between myself and everyone else and be okay with the two not being enmeshed. Once I decouple from making others’ emotions my emotions and what I think others think about me my view of self, then my mind and my soul are in a healthier place, a secure place. Poorly differentiated people are anxious people and insecure people because they cannot guarantee how anyone else is going to feel and cannot dictate that they are going to like you. But if you are truly living out of your identity in Christ then people can either accept you or reject you for who you are. If you are living out of your false self and people accept you, what does that even mean? If you are living out of your true self and people accept you, then you have something meaningful.

This is why when you talk with an insecure person they have to bring every topic back to themselves. They have to keep testing and keep reaffirming self in the center or else they don’t know where they stand much less who they are.

I believe most of us struggle with this at some point in time. I want to encourage you to think less about what others think about you. Know one is good enough to guess that with consistent accuracy any way. You cannot read minds and you cannot base your life and feelings on what you think others think. Instead get to know who you are in Christ and be comfortable enough with what God thinks about you to anchor your identity in Him and live out of that. You will find life far less stressful, far less anxious and far more peaceful.

Intentionality Over Reactivity

Jesus tells us there are two paths through life: the narrow way and the broad way. The broad way has many people on it and it ultimately leads to destruction. The narrow way is one few find and it leads to life. In context Jesus is saying that the way we live our life reallyContinue Reading

Psychotherapy, Preaching and Self-Differentiation in Ministry

There is a term in psychology that every preacher needs to be aware of called “self-differentiation” and it basically means knowing where you stop and everyone else starts…it is the maturity to be able to pull apart what is going on inside of self and what is going on outside yourself. Part of self-differentiation inContinue Reading

James 1: Which Kind of Person Will You Be?

James starts his letter characterizing two types of people (click here to read James 1). The guy experiences trouble and out of that experience develops a mature faith. The second guy James describes doubts God. He is foolish and his life ends up being blown around like the waves, going here and there but neverContinue Reading

Hurt by Chap Clark

Have any of you read “Hurt” by Chap Clark? Our youth minister has highly recommended that I read this book and has laid out the premise of it for me. Then I was speaking with another youth minister who also mentioned this book and how powerful it is in understanding today’s adolescent culture. From whatContinue Reading

Now Offering Statistics Help for Doctoral Candidates and Dissertations

Over the last several months I have started offering help with statistics and research design for people who are working on their dissertation. Often people are severely under-equipped for doing the statistical analysis for their doctorate. Many programs only require a small handful of stats courses and very little by way of research design. NowContinue Reading

Schizophrenia – A Frequently Misused Word

I can’t tell you how many times and from some of the most reputable authors and sources I see the word schizophrenia misused. Over and over I read and hear people use the term schizophrenia or schizophrenic when they mean multiple personality disorder. The most recent comes from Thom Rainer in Simple Church, “When ministryContinue Reading

One of the Best Christian Books on Sex – A Celebration of Sex

In studying for our 20s & 30s class on sex, Missy recommended to me a really good book written from a Christian perspective. It is called A Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God’s Gift of Sexual Intimacy written by Dr. Douglas Rosenau. The book is broken down into these sex…I mean six sections:Continue Reading

Religious Systematic Desensitization

Back in General Psych 101 you probably remember the term “Systematic Desensitization.” This is a treatment used for phobias where you take that person and slowly introduce them to their phobia first at a great distance and then closer and closer until they realize they aren’t really afraid of it anymore. You can’t just putContinue Reading

Cutting – What Parents, Teachers, and Ministers Need to Know

I am amazed at how few people are aware of this growing trend among young people. We normally think of cutting the arms and wrists and suicidal behavior but more and more teens and young adults are tuning to this habit as a form of emotional release and control. This video explains much of theContinue Reading


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