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Levi Lusko - Nosebleeds and Bee Stings


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We're taking some time to talk about relationships. And we're in a series of messages that's really dedicated and given over to that subject. Because we cannot improve our relationships if we don't take time to work on them, take time to study them, take time to talk on them. We'll take them for granted, and eventually entropy will set in. Kind of the big idea is this. Something going wrong in a relationship does not necessarily mean something's wrong with the relationship. That's a big idea. It's kind of at the heart of why we would take time to work on our relationships. Because something going wrong in a relationship does not automatically mean that something's wrong with the relationship. It just means that we need to work on it.

When one of the relationships in your life has a problem, that should be evidence to you that there's some assembly that's required here. And you might not have realized that work needed to be done. So something goes wrong with it, don't automatically throw the relationship out or give up on it. That's what so many people do. But that's like taking back and unassembled piece of furniture that's still in the box, taking it back to the store and complain that it didn't do what they advertised it would do for you. It didn't work. So I'm going to trade it out for a new one.

Listen, the new one's going to have the same problems as the old one if you're not willing to work on it. If you just give it up at the first sign of difficulty, oh, something must be wrong with this relationship. No. Something is wrong with you. You need to get to work on the relationship. Or you can move on to a new one, but you're going to bring your same old dysfunction into that new relationship and your same lack of... I'm two seconds in and I'm already convicted. Everybody. No one's amen-ing. That was like dang it, I'm convicted. I'm hurting I'm bleeding. It's fine. But it's worth it. It's not just the messages that get all likes on Instagram. It's the ones that sting a little bit but actually help us to improve. Don't you want to improve as a person in relationships? I don't think you want to drag the same thing that caused your relationship with your college roommate to be so full of combat, and difficulty, and rancor, and then move that on to the next coworker. And go from relationship to relationship and always assume the fault lies with someone else. Maybe, just maybe, it's right in here. And let's get to work on our relationships. They're not turnkey or maintenance-free. Great relationships take work.

We began last week, if you're just jumping in now, perfect time to jump in, by the way, but make sure you catch up on the podcast. Last week's message was really foundational for everything we're going to talk about. The title of last week's installment was "Start with God". Because when you have a problem in your relationship with your sister, every time she text me it's uhh. Anybody who every time you see their name on your phone makes you go uh. I need to brace myself. I need a stiff drink before I read that text. If that's true in your life, let me just tell you something. Then you need to start with God not with that relationship. But you don't you know no my husband. You don't even know my boss. I don't need to know your boss. What I need to know is that you're seeking God first and His kingdom and His righteousness so all these things can be added unto you. Start with God.

That is the first and most important If we don't start there, then we could have a great month of messages and talk all about here are some principles, and here's some tips, and here's some life hacks. But we might as well be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I think they'd be better and more feng shui way if they were this way. Well, there's a big old iceberg headed for you, baby girl. And by the way, can we scoot over make room for Leonardo? I mean, Jack, I wish I could save you. Scoot over! There's room for him if you would just quit hogging all the dang. So what we want to do is start with God. Clear? And so make sure you jump in there. But for the next four messages, this weekend and three more, I hope you make the commitment to being here. Because what we're going to be doing is each week receiving a new relationship tool. A new tool not that is custom specific towards one context, like this only works in intimacy and romance. And this one only works when it comes to your career to coworkers. No.

What I want to do is each week hand you a tool that you can stick into your emotional toolbox that will make you more sophisticated at working at every relationship. Principles that will apply to any situation that you find yourself in where there is any kind of a relationship context. And the more tools you get the better you'll be. The more tools we have, the more sophisticated we'll be at handling the problem and having the right tool for the right job. Because it's been said, and well said, if all you have is a hammer, everything in life will tend to look like a nail. You'll just grab it each time, and maybe, just maybe, that's a part of the problem. You only have a few tools. So let's become more diverse when it comes to the tools we have emotionally at our disposal. And this week we want to start with the tool of alignment, personal alignment. Specifically, we're going to try and work on, we're going to learn how to adjust our own alignment. The alignment between our intentions and the impact we have on the world.

The alignment between our intentions and the impact we have on the world. Aligning our behavior to the specific outcome that we want in any given situation. Let's make sure that the alignment's not off, that when we take our hands off the wheel it's tried and true. It's not pulling to the right or pulling to the left on its own. If you have a Bible, we're going to be in Proverbs chapter 30. If you don't have a Bible, no problem at all. We're going to put the verses up on the screen for you. Title of my message is "Nosebleeds and Bee Stings". So there you go. It's what you're going to get in a second. Not specifically nosebleeds or bee stings, but the title of the message. Verse 32. It says, "If you have been foolish," I'm already convicted. Anybody else? Dang it, you got to go there? For real? Manual for wise living, right? "If you have been foolish". Does anybody feel like they qualify? You feel like you fit the bill? You have been foolish? No? Only half the room. That concerns me. Anybody in denial? That's the other half the room. Very good.

"If you have been foolish in exalting yourself or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth". That right there is some good relationship advice. How much better would your life go if you got better at putting your hand on your mouth? "For as the churning of milk produces butter, and wringing the nose produces blood, so the forcing of wrath produces strife". As we talk about the alignment of our intentions, and the impact we have on our behavior, and the outcome we want, those two are both the same. There's a synchronization between what we're doing and what we want to accomplish. Between our intentions and the actual impact we have. Would you pray with me?

Father, we are just grateful, so grateful to be in Your presence. So thankful that we have the not only honor but luxury of opening up Your Word. We have such a great wealth of it. We can pull it out on our phones. We can read it on paperback. We can jump on the internet. And we're just really humbled that we have the chance right now, at this moment, to quiet our hearts and to assess how we're doing and what's going on. And let You speak into our lives, our relationships. We pray for health. We pray for growth. Even if not instant progress, we pray for progress of some kind. Some change. And we just pray that whatever You speak to us in this moment we would, come Monday, come Thursday, come next Saturday, be living differently because of what You're going to speak to us. That it wouldn't go in one ear, out the other. And we ask that if even a single person listening to this message, however it's hitting them, whatever media has brought Your Word to them if they don't know You, if they are far from You, without God, without hope in this world. I pray You would draw them to Yourself. I want to specifically pray for a young girl listening who's doubting her value, doubting if she's is worth love, maybe cutting herself. Whatever it is, God the person who's feeling even a sense of despair about life itself, contemplating suicide, would You just draw them to Yourself in Jesus' name. Amen.


It was Dale Carnegie who so eloquently put it, speaking on relationships and specifically on alignment. He said, "If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive. And that's such a powerful word picture. I like how as I appointed to it, it went away. Planning on hanging out there for a second, but no, it's fine. Just go ahead and yank it out from under me. I like how he said, "If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive". You're approaching to get some honey out. Your desire is to get something sweet. Your tactics should match your desire. There should be an alignment in the behavior of a person who, if the outcome they want is getting honey, well, they should go in not kicking it over, hey bees, give me your honey, what are you going to get" You're going to get bee stings.

And what did the author of Proverbs chapter 30 say is going to happen if you go in swinging towards people's faces? You're not going to get butter. That's what you get if you churn milk. But if you go churning someone's nose up, you go tuning someone's face up, don't act surprised when they, and then subsequently you, have blood dripping from your nose. So similarly, the forcing of wrath in a relationship is every single time going to lead to strife. And you're like, duh, of course. Uh, obvious, right? And yet, why do we, in relationships, walk away surprised when people's noses are bleeding, ours and theirs, and act surprised and mystified as to what happened. I can't believe it. I can't believe it. How did this happen? Oh, I don't know. You sort of were violent, and aggressive, and mean. And you forced your wrath, but now you don't like the outcome because there wasn't an alignment between your behavior and what you actually wanted to happen. And usually we walk away thinking, well, it wasn't my intention. Wasn't what I wanted. We throw up what our intentions were as the excuse for what we actually did. There wasn't an alignment. But here's a beautiful, life-changing truth. Your intentions don't matter. Your behavior does.

I got a guy on staff who I was traveling with. We were in Nashville. I got asked to speak at a college. I know, I was as confused as anybody. That's it's like a terrible solution. They brought me in, and this is dean so-and-so. Everyone's in suits. I'm wearing a ripped-up jean jacket. I felt totally out of place. And this is dean so-and-so. And this is this professor. And I was like, just please don't... I felt like I was going to get in trouble the entire time. I got out of there as quickly as I could. And while we were there I was putting this message together. I'm studying Proverbs 30. I'm reading different versions. What does it mean "the churning of the nose produces blood"? and as that happened, honest to God, the guy traveling with me from our staff, he starts laughing, looking at his phone. His wife had just texted him this picture of his son, who had just got the tar beat out of him by his sister. And the caption that went along with the photo said, "Don't mess with Anna, K"? Now his name is Quinn.

Now let me just tell you something. It doesn't matter to Quinn what Anna's intentions were. Now by the way, I asked Quinn's mom and she said Anna's intentions were exactly that. So she was aligned in what baby girl had a synchronization between her behavior and the outcome she wanted. She was having some Gatorade at this moment. But let me just tell you something. It doesn't matter to Quinn if that was what Anna intended, because that was what happened. It doesn't matter what you wanted to say. No one can hear what you wanted to say. We only get to hear what you say. Doesn't matter what you meant with that passive-aggressive comment, with that cutting statement about so-and-so. All that matters is what you said. Intentions don't matter. It's the impact you're having on the world. So to walk around throwing it up, well, that wasn't my intention. It wasn't my intention to hurt your feelings. Or, I'm sorry you got hurt. Top 10 worst apologies. Maybe top one worst. I'm sorry you got hurt. That wasn't my intention. What I meant, It doesn't matter. What matters is what you did.

So what I want to do today is give you a very clear, very easy-to-understand grid to align your intention and your impact. Four simple steps. Ready? Analyze, extrapolate, prioritize, navigate. Analyze so you can extrapolate. Prioritize, and then navigate. That's the four. That's where we're going, and we're going to circle back now and go through one at a time what these steps look like. But this is going to help you not walk away with bee stings and nosebleeds, mystified as to what happened, because you had such noble, high, pure, golden, gracious intentions. Does that sound good? All right. Here we go. Analyze. What does this mean? Every time you feel ready to force your wrath on somebody, every time you feel ready to do something, it's going to have, every single time, as the end result the forcing of strife, stop and analyze what you want to do, and why you feel like doing it. And if you take notes in church, which is so helpful to do. Because then you can remember it and discuss it later in one of our Fresh Life groups. Or get together with a couple of coworkers and talk about what you watched of the church online broadcast.

Here's what I want you to write down next to analyze. Write this down. "What I want to do is blank". "What I want to do is blank". And when you fill this out in the moment, even in your head... I've heard people say that they'll bring drinks into a meeting where they know that they're going to tend to be riled up. And anytime they feel like forcing wrath and producing strife, they'll take a drink. Because people don't look at you funny while you're drinking, and they give you all the time in the world to sort stuff out. So you can use that every time you need a little bit of cover fire. So, OK, OK, OK, OK, analyzing. What I want to say is: be as brutally honest as you need to be. It can be while you're driving. I want to pass them on the right meanly. I want to give them the universal one-fingered symbol for have a great day.

Whatever it is you want to do, when you're ready to punch someone in the face that's going to produce blood, you need to assess the situation. Don't run from your emotions. Don't bottle it up. Don't bottle up your emotions, heaven forbid. Instead, study them, analyze them, isolate them, pull it up and say, man, right now I'm really triggered. I feel like saying something mean. I feel like saying something belittling. I feel like bringing up ancient history that's been long sorted out and forgiven, dredging up the past. I feel like getting hysterical. I feel like ad hominem attacking them. I feel in this moment I could go nuclear and pull the divorce word out. I feel right now so mad, I could actually hit them. Here's what I want to do right there. And then feel free to add on any specifics that would help you build a case file on why you feel this way. Because you don't walk around all the time spoiling for a fight. You're, generally speaking, probably a pretty calm person. And you are pretty other-centered person.

So to be at a place where you're so filled with rage, jot down anything specifically that would tell you what's making you feel this way. I feel like I've been disrespected. I feel like I haven't been valued. I feel like I haven't been heard. I've been overlooked. So anything that would help you understand that this has happened. And then what's cool about this, you do it for a while, as you begin to track these sort of things, you'll notice some common threads. You'll notice some common things. Man, it seems like every time this happens, this is how I feel. And this is what it makes me want to do. We're not making any conclusions here, and we're not sugarcoating stuff. We're just being honest so we can understand our emotions. So many of us, we act on emotions before we even have time to process them. So if you pause here, you'll begin to pull them to the surface. This is what I feel like doing right now. Why do we analyze?

So we can, second point, what is it? Extrapolate. We analyze, and now we bring the data from that on in and we extrapolate it. To extrapolate means to play something out. To sort of unravel it a little bit, and to take it to its logical end. Here's what you're going to write down next to extrapolate. If I do that, blank will happen. If I do that... And I might still, because we haven't made a decision yet, have we? We are trying to isolate our feelings of what we want to do. And in this phase we're saying, if I do that, which I still can, don't worry buddy, angry man inside. You still might get your day in court. We just first need to play out what you want to do. You see what this is? This is installing a Jarvis inside your head. This is at least going to show you the trajectory. You can fly up that high, but just so you know, you don't have enough fuel in your arc reactor to land safely. So fly all you want, little guy. But it's going to be a violent return to Earth.

So in the extrapolation phase, we're sort of going, all right, what are the ramifications of said behavior? If I walk in and say that, if the perfect insult, which, oh ho ho, this one's going to sting. It's going to be the shot heard around the world. If I say that, what's going to happen next? What are they likely to do? What am I then going to need to do? How is this going to escalate the situation? What is this going to do to the tension? What are the long-term impacts on my family, on my kids, on my reputation, on my career? Just get it all out there. You still can choose to take that course of action, just make sure once you've taken it, you do so knowing all of the things that are going to happen next. What dominoes are going to be tipped over by doing this? Is not this the wisdom of Proverbs chapter 4, when it tells us very clearly, "Ponder the path of your feet, and let all of your ways be established". Ponder.

So he's saying, extrapolate. Build that on. If I go here, here, here. here, oh, wait a minute. If I do this, here's the question, will it take me to a place that I like when I get there? And if you've done good work in the analysis section, your case file tells you again and again and again, when I do that, here's what happens, and here's what happens next. I walk away with a bloody nose. They walk away with a bloody nose. Just be honest. Is that what you want to happen? Because does not Proverbs chapter 27 put it this way? "A prudent person," look at this, "A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks, but a simpleton walks blindly in and gets clobbered".

How many times do you want to get clobbered in relationships? Begin to do some forecasts. Begin to do some projections. Begin to do some estimates and ask yourself, is this what I want? Derda, derda, whack. Derda, derda, whack Derda, derda, whack. Einstein said, it's a casual Einstein quote, middle of sermon, feels good. I'll go for it. Einstein said to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results is insanity. So you're going to walk in and get clobbered, just like you got clobbered last time. And just like when you were in high school and you did this you got clobbered. And just like you will, ad nauseum. We've done our first step, and that's the first chunk. We analyze so that we then can extrapolate.

Now we're still not acting yet. Here's the third. And this is where it really turns a corner. We now prioritize. Prioritize or tuning ourselves. We're aligning ourselves first. We're not doing this for someone else. Because if you really want to change someone that's going to make a difference, change you. We're not aligning someone else we're aligning ourselves for the situation between intention and impact, between behavior and outcome. So we prioritize. Here's the question that we ask. I want you to write this down in your notes next to the word prioritize. Write this down, "Here's what I actually want to happen". Because chances are, whatever you wrote down in the extrapolate phase, you don't like it.

So here's where you get to fill in, here's my ideal outcome to this situation. They did something that riled me up. I'm triggered. It made me want to take this course of action. But if I do that, I'm going to end up at a place where I don't like how it feels. I know that because I've walked blindly in and gotten clobbered so many times. And I don't really love the coppery taste of my blood running into my mouth. And it's just OxiClean on my shirt. The struggle is real, people. I am the nosebleed King, OK? And I love this. Now we have a blank slate. And we can say, OK, if I could dream anything, well, how am I going to get there? Don't worry about that. But if I could dream any outcome to the situation, if I could come up with any storyboard for what's in the last pane of the comic, if I get to draw that.

Don't worry about the middle ones yet. You're in the first one, want to punch someone. But don't worry about the middle part. Just say, how do I want this to end before the credits roll? What would be my best-case scenario here? So that's where I fill this in. And chances are what you're going to write in here is not, I want to have a fight. You know what would be great, instead of a nice dinner, would be screaming at each other. That would be nice. Wouldn't it be good. You know, why would we make love and go to sleep when we could just fight and then go to sleep with our backs facing each other? That would be great. You know what would be awesome is not a lot of sleep because we're pacing and arguing, but quietly because the kids are sleeping. Or not quietly because it really doesn't even matter anymore. And then sleeping on the couch, and me in the guest bedroom.

Wouldn't that be, you know, would be great in the evening? Frosty. Frosty the Snowman. That would be how I would describe the demeanor I want from them and for me for the rest of the night. None of us, if we're in a moment, if we took the time to stop and ask the question honestly, what do we want to be the outcome here, none of us would pick fight. And guess what? When you get ticked off in a customer service situation and you unleash on the unsuspecting person who's just doing their job, an impossible job sometimes, and you unload on them, that's not what you actually wanted. Because even if you do, you're the worst, and your airline and your company and your restaurant. I didn't get the table I want. I can't believe I don't get respect.

So you unload on them. OK you've had your little temper tantrum and you walk away. Do you feel better? Man, I sure got hurt there. Because every single person in line is looking at you like, well done five-year-old, right? And the poor person, it's not even their dang fault. What is her name? Irma? Did they cause the hurricane? Like yeah, sorry. I'm just trying to get everybody home. This is my great joy in life. You know what I mean? So you unloaded on them. You don't actually want to be in a fight. So here's where you're actually going to ask the question, what do I want? What I actually wanted was just to be heard. You know what? What I actually wanted was just a seat. What I actually wanted was just the tip. My ideal outcome is me getting to eat dinner here in your fine establishment.
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