Brett.Ullman

Author - brett ullman

The Loneliness Epidemic

Another great article to add more conversation on loneliness. This article on on Today’s Christian Woman’s website. You mighty need to get an account to read it for free.

Although loneliness is something the vast majority of people wrestle with, hardly anyone wants to openly address it, says John Ortberg, a Christian author, and pastor of the multi-site Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in the San Francisco Bay Area. “People will readily acknowledge being too busy because that makes them sound important,” he says. “But to say ‘I’m lonely’ is kind of like saying ‘I’m a loser,’ and nobody’s going to like a loser.”

Ortberg himself admits to having struggled with a deep, secret loneliness in his earlier years as a pastor. “It’s easy to hide and project an image, and pastoral ministry can sometimes actually reinforce that tendency and reward it if it’s done well,” he says. “What that leaves starved is the desire inside the soul to be fully known. And I can only be fully loved if somebody fully knows me. The degree to which I’ve felt unknown and unloved is the degree to which I have felt lonely.”

The holidays in particular can increase this sense of shame, Kinder says. “There’s so much stress and pressure about what we think Christmas should look like. Whether we’re part of the perfect Hallmark family, or have lots of gifts under the tree, or take the perfect vacation. We believe we’re not okay if we’re not having the experiences everyone else seems to be having.”

Ortberg believes one of the most effective cures for the drain that comes from a hurried, frantic pace in this technological age is to set aside regular periods of time to spend in solitude—an idea that, at first blush, people struggling with loneliness might fear will exacerbate their feeling of isolation.
“Ironically, one of the things you discover in solitude is that you’re not alone,” Ortberg asserts. “A big difference between Jesus and most folks in our day is Jesus was often alone but never lonely. We are often lonely but hardly ever truly alone.

“A lot of people wonder what they’re supposed to do in a period of solitude,” he continues. “The main point isn’t what to do, but what not to do. We don’t hurry or try to produce. Our bodies and minds realize we still have worth as human beings when we’re not doing anything, and we realize that God and the world get along okay without our striving. We begin to realize how much of our ‘to-do’ list is about our ego more than anything else. Eventually, our souls begin to rest, and we discover we’d rather live this way. Instead of obligation, solitude becomes a lifeline.”

Click here for the entire article.

10 reasons people are lonely? It’s more complicated than that

I am going to be posting a number of articles on Loneliness. So much great conversation here.

The problem I think is that we’re all a bit scared of loneliness – of being alone. Of being left. Of not being loved. Or needed. Or cared about. “Lonely” hits a spot of fear in all of us even if we don’t acknowledge it. So a year ago, I set out to find people who were brave enough to admit and talk about how lonely they were. But I wanted to find people whose stories offered hope – either because they’d found a way of dealing with loneliness or because they had something in their lives that, even in a small way, alleviated their loneliness.

For the entire article click here.

20 Practical ways how to be a better father | fatherhood | how to be a better dad

Today I want to challenge the dads out there. If you want to learn how to be a better dad than this is the video for you. Now for the women who are watching, most of these are the same challenge for you. But, today I want to specially address the guys. These are things we can do to improve our parenting.

Remember a Father is a Father, is a father is a father. No excuses / No exceptions. Whether you are married with kids, divorced dad, separated with kids, widowed dad, single guy with kids, teen dad etc I think we can all be better dads/fathers. This is a list of 20 things you can do to be a better dad.

There is NO order to these. You can add any more you like in the comments section.


The Goldilocks’ Effect and How to Journey Alongside Those Who Are Grieving: Guest Blog (Jason Dykstra)

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks. She walked into this empty house and looked up at the table where three bowls of porridge were cooling. She tried the first one, “Ouch!” She said, “This is one is far too hot!” She tried the second bowl, “Ewww, this one is far too cold.” She decided to give the third one a try, “Ahhhh…this one is just right.”

It’s been a couple of years since my wife and I lost our son. He was our third child, born straight into the hands of God. Since then, we’ve experienced a multitude of different responses from people; responses that ranged from too hot, too cold, and oh just right.

Here’s the thing we need a community to help us in our grief journey, and that’s sometimes really difficult. It’s difficult because our culture doesn’t know how to enter into the grief or suffering of another person. It’s not their fault either, where in society do we learn how to enter into the grief of another? As a result, we end up with the Goldilocks’ effect some come on too hot, others too cold, and then there are those who do it oh-so-right.

So with this guest post, I hope to prepare folks who are grieving with whom they might encounter during this time, and help to give some advice to people who are looking to journey alongside those who are grieving.

Dear Griever

Let me say upfront fellow griever, all of these people have good intents. However, those intents don’t always create experiences that are helpful. During these times, it’s essential for you to listen to yourself and your body, you are not responsible for other’s intent. You can only speak out of how it makes you feel, and if it’s not helpful, then it’s not helpful. Don’t feel bad about that; you already have a lot you’re dealing with.

“Oh my goodness, I can’t believe you are going through all of this, I’m so sorry, I can’t imagine what it feels like…it must be so hard, so painful, so difficult to even get up in the morning. I know when my friend lost….” Their face is flush, tears flow down their cheeks, and they gasp for air as they try desperately not to spiral out of control. They approach like a hurricane with their energy swirling you off your feet. As they try to comfort you, you (the griever) begin to reassure them so that they don’t entirely go off the edge in a full-on breakdown. Just as the porridge was too hot, so is their approach, and soon you are left to blow on them to cool them down to room temperature.

Then comes the porridge that’s too cold. It’s so cold in fact that they seemingly operate on the premise of “less is more.” So they do the least amount of comforting possible, and they may even avoid you altogether. It’s as if they were to talk with you, they might catch this terrible disease of grief, and the thought of that is unbearable for them. Their lack of acknowledgement makes you want to scream out in the middle of the street, “I’m right here! I exist, and so does my pain!”

Then there are those who are juuuuuuuuuust right. It has nothing to do with what they say or anything in particular that they do, but there’s just something about their presence that is comforting. It’s not because you’ve known them for a while, or because they are a stranger, these folks come in all shapes and sizes. They sit there with you, cry with you, help you clean the house or make a meal. Even though it’s uncomfortable for them, they aren’t in a rush to leave, and yet they’re ready to leave whenever you are prepared for them to go. They are the courageous that will sit and listen to your stories even though those stories cannot be unheard.

These are the three types of people you will likely experience in your grief journey. They all mean well, but it doesn’t always feel that way. Be true to yourself; it sucks that you’re in this place. You don’t deserve it. Here’s the thing that most people don’t realize: People want you to feel better, but when you’re in the grips of grief, that’s not what you need at this time. They are trying to love you, but in reality, it feels as if they are trying to pull you away from the love you just lost. Do what you need to at this time. You are ridiculously worthy of love, and there is a God that loves you very much.

Dear Journeyer

I want to thank you for your willingness and courage to journey alongside someone that is going through a difficult time. It’s not an easy task because it’s awkward, uncomfortable, and everyone grieves differently. You’re stepping into some uncharted territory, and I want to offer a few pieces of wisdom from someone that has been on the grieving end and messed up plenty of time on the comforting end.

Show Up
One of the best things that you can do is to show up. That might be through text messages, sending flowers, making a meal, heck maybe it’s even taking their kids for an hour so that your friend can have a hot second to themselves. Everyone grieves differently, and it’s important to realize that and honour that. When you say you’re going to show up, make sure that you do. Reliability is so crucial at this time. If you say you are going to text them every other day to check in on them, make sure those messages get sent.

Be Present
Be all in. When you are there, nothing else matters. There is nothing else on your to-do lists that trumps where you are right now. Put your phone on silent, or better yet, turn it off. Being present is difficult because that involves listening to the stories: stories of hurt, of joy, and suffering. Listen with your whole body. You should be exhausted by the time you leave. Don’t share your own stories or advice (unless they ask for it), put all of your focus on them. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with you. Enter into their pain, risk being changed from this experience, and be supportive.

Get Uncomfortable
This one is probably the most difficult but the most significant difference between those who are too hot or cold and those who are just right. It has nothing to do with the words you say, though you can say things like, “I’m sorry for your loss…this really sucks.” Sometimes, the best thing you can say is, “I have no clue what to say right now, but I’m right here for you.” When you show up and are fully present, it can quickly lead to feeling uncomfortable. That’s okay. Feel it, acknowledge it, then let it go. Show up, be present, and sit in that uncomfortable feeling of not knowing what to say, because realistically, there’s nothing you can say that will take this pain away. What their pain needs right now is someone to sit down beside it and say, “this sucks. I see you; I see your pain, and oh man…this really sucks.” Just be.

Jason Dykstra is a dad of four (three living), husband to one, and helper to many. Jason is a conflict management and leadership development specialist and has been chronicling his family’s journey over at They Call Me Dad. You can find him on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube to chat more or you can download his free eBook – Things They Don’t Tell You About Grief. He also has a podcast called Thriving Leaders.

the Sex Talk: A Christian Worldview of Healthy Sexuality | Parenting Tips

This is my full presentation on how we can help our kids get a Christian Sexual Ethic or a Christian Worldview of Healthy Sexuality. This “Sex Talk” or as it used to be called “the birds and the bees” is something that we all must do as parents. Christian parenting in this area adds another layer as we come from a very different worldview than mainstream society. We do need to have better education around this topic of sex in our homes, than our churches, and then in our schools.

Description:
Everyone likes to feel comfortable. In fact, we pad our lives with comforts of all kinds and those things that make life uncomfortable for us we push as far from us as possible. If you’re like most people, you quietly withdrew as you read the title of this piece (the.sex.talk) in Christian context.

The Why: One scary statistic says that 70-80% of Christian Young Adults have had sex before they get married. We need to completely rethink how we engage students in this conversation as parents, youth leaders and as members of the greater Christian community. What a difficult time to grow up as a teenager; so many questions and so few people willing to answer them. As Christian adults, we cannot continue to be silent on these issues of sexuality.

The How: This talk helps equip and empower parents as to how to help their kids get a Biblical worldview of healthy sexuality. The.Sex.Talk is an unapologetic, straight-forward talk on the nature of sex in this era of modern, overly-sexualized culture. Addressing such issues as Christian faith, STI’s, pregnancy, pornography, sexting, singleness and grace, Brett Ullman tackles the often awkward and uncomfortable topic of sex in a direct, Biblical fashion linking current topics and trends with Biblical examples and principles.

The Goal: This project attempts to create and promote a culture where Christian parents and their teenagers are equipped and empowered to have this conversation resulting in better, healthier choices in the area of sex for their teenagers.

Our media-saturated culture consistently floods our minds with inaccurate, often twisted truths about the true nature of sex. As fellow journeyers, let’s ask the tough questions together as we look to connect our ancient faith with our modern world.

This is my full presentation called the sex talk. If you want to show this to your church, youth group, camp etc you can buy a digital download from the Vimeo link – https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thesextalk

If this talk helped you or someone in your family and you would like to make a small donation to the Charity (Worlds Apart) you can do so from this link – https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/15850

Thanks for any support.