Weekly Blog

Week #2 – Having to Earn the Love of Others

This is the 2nd of our 14-week program, where we provide Lesson #2, Having to Earn the Love of Others. So here are some questions to consider:

  • When growing up, do you remember times when performing well made you feel more loved?
  • Or how about when you failed at something or perceived that you failed, did you feel less loved?
  • Although you don’t do it intentionally (none of us do), do you treat people differently based on their performance, i.e. your kids, coworkers

The most glaring example of this issue in my life was winning the high school football championship my senior year. No matter where my teammates and I went, we were treated like heroes, like gods. Regardless of whether it was the school administration, our teachers, and classmates, or family…parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins, the media, friends outside of school, or the broader community…we were celebrated for our successes individually and collectively.

Having come from an incredibly loving home, the above made me feel more loved based on my success, us winning. Think about it in your own life. Based on my research, I’m quite sure you’ve experienced it.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

No Malice Intended

It’s not done intentionally or with malice. Most of us had good upbringings. That said, most also grow up believing, based on our lived experiences, that we have to excel to be loved. Stated another way, we fear that if we don’t perform well, we won’t be loved. And at a fundamental level, we all want to be loved; we all want to be accepted.

As we’re going to learn in future lessons, believing that we have to earn the love of others isn’t a good thing. It drives behaviors related to our own self-development, in addition to the way we treat others, that aren’t healthy. 

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As indicated, there are no “quick” fixes to anything in life, including feeling the need to earn the love of others. That said, as we move through these 14 lessons, I’m going to give you things that helped me in my life.

Specific to this lesson, I would suggest:

  • Think about the following questions. Take them to prayer. Reference Daily Dialogue with God at this past blog for guidance. We can only understand an issue if we identify it. Ponder (think/pray) the following:
    • How did “earning the love of others” occur in your life?
    • How are you seeing it occur in others’ lives?
    • What do you think the impact was then?
    • How has what occurred then impacted you now?
  • We need to learn to separate our role (carpenter, banker, electrician, dietician, teacher) from our identity (loved children of God). Think and pray about the following:
    • God does not call us because we are worthy, but because we are wanted.
    • God does not call the qualified; He qualifies the called.
    • St. Augustine wrote, “God loves each of us as if there was only one of us to be loved”.
  • During your morning prayer routine (from last week), in addition to taking your worries and stresses to the Lord, asking for His peace, also bask in His love. You can meditate on each of the phrases just above, in addition to “I am a loved child of God”.
  • Watch this Friday’s video on this same subject….it will be emailed to you.

Please join us next Wednesday for Week #3 when we talk about lack of self-love. As always, please feel free to get to me with questions, comments, or concerns at [email protected].

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph


Week #1 – Being Overwhelmed
Week #2 – Earning the love of others
Week #3 – Lack of self-love
Week #4 – Fear
Week #5 – False gods, False happiness
Week #6 – Life’s Tragedies
Week #7 – Wounds, Resentments

Week #8 – Discovering God’s Love
Week #9 – Forgiveness and healing
Week #10 – Becoming the best Possible You
Week #11 – Path to Peace
Week #12 – Finding your Purpose
Week #13 – You were made for Greatness
Week #14 – True Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment

Weekly Blog

Three Benefits of Social Distancing

In listening to the White House Coronavirus Task Force, social distancing is staying at least 6’ away from others. A quick internet search indicates other examples as:

  • Working from home instead of at the office
  • Closing schools or switching to online classes
  • Visiting loved ones by electronic devices instead of in person
  • Cancelling or postponing conferences and large meetings

It turns out that social distancing wasn’t developed specific to Coronavirus, but instead has been a public health practice for years, for highly contagious diseases. A potential silver lining in the current health crisis is that people may gain positive habits, i.e. better hygiene, that prevent the spread of disease. This could help in relation to the flu and the common cold. We can hope.

Photo by Bongkarn Thanyakij from Pexels

Cyndi, my wife, and I have been taking all of this seriously. With the exception of our Sunday drives and occasional walks outside, we’ve now not left the house for 17 days. As empty-nesters, we don’t have the challenge of occupying the attention of or educating our kids. Both accustomed to working from home, we continue with our regular activities. And to be honest, being stuck together has helped us grow in our relationship (not that we were having issues…at least I don’t think so…I’ll have to ask her).

Speaking of relationships, I’ve come to say that with the advent of smart phones, although we’ve never been more connected, we’ve never been more isolated. Statistically very true, while we have fewer friends today than we did years ago, a number of stats are up, including those who are lonely, depressed, addicted, suicidal…and the list goes on. An interesting insight is that with so many people looking at their screens all the time, even in the presence of other people, you could argue that social distancing has been being practiced well in advance of COVID-19.

To me, there are three benefits to social distancing. Let’s see what they are.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

Relationship Intentionality
Not only are Cyndi and I spending more time talking, but we’re being more intentional with talking to our kids, our mothers, and others. One example is my brothers and me talking and texting more often, not only about the crisis, but checking in on one another and our families. In addition to checking in with and having lengthier conversations with each of our kids, we did a 4-way FaceTime the other night, for an hour. We laughed with and at each other….just like being in the same room.

Time for Prayer
Although most people reading this blog understand the importance of their relationship with God, some (maybe a majority) struggle with prayer, including me. Always faithful to my rote prayer, it’s my quiet time with the Lord which is off and on. Starting a week ago this past Sunday, given the 1/2-hour commute to work I’m not making, I’ve forced myself to spend that 1/2-hour with God. It looks like this:

  • Rote Prayer – 5 minutes
  • Read and meditate on Scripture – 5 minutes
  • Thinking and praying for people in my life – 5 minutes
  • Thinking and praying about a current challenge – 10 minutes
  • Thinking and praying about my schedule for the day – 5 minutes

With the times above varying from day to day, my time with Jesus has been very meaningful and a great way to start each day. Assuming Coronavirus lasts long enough, I may just create a habit here.

Photo by Arek Adeoye on Unsplash

Discipline to Exercise
Although I’ve always been an avid exerciser, I’ve stepped up my game during this time, as have many that I’ve spoken to. Being home all day, not having the opportunity to be out or walk around, is a real incentive. If you don’t have equipment in your house, a quick internet search can provide plenty of guidance (email me if you need some help). Taking a nicely paced walk can be good exercise too…good for the relationship too, just maintain your social distancing.

Doing the above is taking care of yourself the way God intended, all things that will make you healthier, including the spiritual, and happier.

As always, feel free to get back to me with questions, comments, or concerns at [email protected].

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

P.S. For resources that can help you on your faith journey, while practicing social distancing, you can go to The Upper Room.

P.P.S. While waiting for the crisis to end, you can pick what conference you want to go to this summer on the Steubenville Conferences page.

P.P.S. And if you’re looking to participate in a “virtual” small group so as to maintain your social distancing, check out Discipleship Quads.

Weekly Blog

Kobe Bryant’s Big Three

Hey *|FNAME|*,

Kobe Bryant was one of the most prolific professional basketball players of all time, winning five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the 3rd highest scorer in NBA history until January 25th, 2020, when LeBron James took his place, moving Kobe to 4th.

In classy Kobe fashion, he tweeted “continuing to move the game forward @KingJames; much respect my brother”. That tweet would be his last public statement. Kobe and his 13 year-old daughter were killed with several others, in a tragic helicopter crash the next day, on January 26th.

Image by Alexandra Walt from Flickr CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication

When I reflect on Kobe’s passing, two things come to mind. First is how we glorify our heroes in this world, whether sports stars, performers, dignitaries, or the rich and otherwise famous. In our culture, they are idolized. They are held on a pedestal, with most being envious of their lives, often believing that they don’t have challenges like us plain folk.

Two points I would make on the above:

  1. Everyone, regardless of fame or fortune, or lack thereof, has challenges in their lives….everyone!!!
  2. We are gifts from God, made in His image and likeness. As such, we are not to look down on anyone. Likewise, we are to look up to no one except Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Number 2 above doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to emulate positive characteristics of others. It does mean that you aren’t to idolize or envy them.

The second thing I think of are the “Big Three” things that Kobe arguably had figured out. They include:

  1. Faith
    1. It’s widely known that Kobe was Catholic. That in of itself isn’t a big deal in that many Catholics don’t practice the faith. Kobe did, reportedly attending 7AM Sunday Mass on a regular basis, including the day he and his daughter were killed.
    2. It’s also widely known that Kobe made a bad decision in 2003, where he was with a woman other than his wife. Kobe is quoted as saying, “The one thing that really helped me during that process was talking to a Priest”. Kobe indicates that the Priest gave him advice that all of us could use, “Let it go. Move on. God’s not going to give you anything you can’t handle, and it’s in his hands now. This is something you can’t control. So let it go”. Kobe indicated that was the turning point.
  2. Family
    1. Even with the above, although they split for a period, Kobe and his wife, Vanessa, reconciled. The couple had 4 beautiful daughters. Reports indicate that Kobe was hugely invested in all of his girls, including his precious wife.
    2. So many people step over their families to be with others. Not Kobe. As the reports indicate, he knew his priority. He spent tons of time with them and loved them all dearly.
  3. Purpose
    1. In watching interviews and reading several articles, it’s clear that from a very young age, Kobe was an incredibly hard worker. He knew his passion. He pursued his passion vigorously and he was among the very best.
    2. One interview indicated that Kobe was keenly aware of the platform that basketball gave him. As such, he was committed to making a difference in retirement. With a concentration on youth, the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation provides scholarships and leadership training, while attacking youth homelessness. They were both actively involved in other charity work as well.

In reading my blogs, you know that I strongly believe that God made each of us with special gifts and talents; gave us all a unique purpose….and that it’s incumbent upon us to discover those things and exercise our greatness. You also know that I believe that first in our lives needs to come our faith and our family. Kobe Bryant got it. He did these things. He’s a great example to all of us, not because he’s an NBA star, but because he loved our God, embraced his purpose, and was a very good husband and father. Kobe and Gianna, Rest in Peace.

Image by Ethan Miller from Getty Images

How is Kobe an example to you? Feel free to comment on that question or reach out to me with other questions, comments, challenges at [email protected].

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph