Browsing Articles Written by

Lee Bezotte

Love

Love That’s Deeper Than

May 4, 2017 • By

Has your love ever been tested?

I remember, years ago, a mentor of mine saying that no two people should ever get married without first having an intense fight. Luckily, my then fiance (now wife) and I had that covered. About an hour after I asked her to marry me, we were standing in the street having a shouting match on a cold winter night. Classy, right? I know but we worked through it, and here we are still married after almost 25 years.

One of the mistakes we make when considering love (for a spouse, our children, or anyone else we claim to love) is that we assume that fond feelings must be attached. We might be endeared to a person and tell them that we love them. Love and endearment really aren’t the same thing.

I remember a guy walking up to me, after a particularly lively and emotional time of church worship, saying, “I love you man. I’m committed to you.” I hardly ever heard from him after that.

A very good friend of mine, who was married for decades, told me he was leaving his wife because he wasn’t enjoying himself anymore and there was a younger woman who made him feel special.

Here’s the thing I’ve learned about love. If you’re not willing to put the work into it, if you’re not willing to stick with someone when things get tough, if you’re not willing to commit when you’re not getting anything out of it, then it’s not love.

Maybe it’s like, maybe it’s fond feelings, maybe it’s fun. But it’s not love.

The thing with love (real love) is that it’s willing to work through the ugly, willing to go long periods of time performing acts of love without feelings, and even willing to pray, believe, and be kind when the other person is pushing you away.

I have an autistic son that is currently going through a phase where he flies into a rage for seemingly very small things. When he has one of these episodes, he says hurtful things, yells, and shakes his fist. My gut response is to say something cutting and walk away. I’m tired.

Every time, I have to make the a deliberate decision to love.

I have to intentionally speak with love, not fight fire with fire (which I sometimes fail at), and renew my commitment to walk with him through this season of his life. It’s hard but love is hard. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something.

Before I wrap this up, I want to ask you, who do you need to love stronger?

Have you checked out of one of your most important relationships? Do you find yourself judging people that really need love? Are you distancing yourself from someone who’s difficult to love?

Love stronger. Push through. Keep loving.

I recently wrote a short e-book called The Love Stronger Manifesto and I want to give you a copy. Just click here to download it. My prayer is that you’ll read it and accept the challenge to love yourself and others in a way that can change the world.

Love can heal broken people, can transform your life, and can make a difference in our families and communities.

We just need to love stronger.


culture

How to Break Your Smartphone Addiction Without Throwing It In the Trash

April 19, 2017 • By

Recently, I was having a conversation with a local psychologist and the topic of smartphone addiction came up. It’s become a serious problem over the last few years and the constant impulse to check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc is eroding our ability to concentrate or focus our attention for more than a few seconds. It’s also having a negative impact on our face to face interactions with other people.

Think about it. How many times have you unlocked your phone to check the time or weather and found yourself unconsciously trolling Facebook minutes later?

My friend explained how the constant dopamine surges in our brains have us hooked on the social media and email checks we indulge in several times a day. A recent statistic I read said the average person spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing social media a day. That averages to 28,300 hours in a lifetime (over three years)!

We sleep with our smartphones next to us. They’re often the last thing we look at before going to sleep and the first thing we look at in the morning. We’re captive to notifications, we refuse to just sit and think, and we panic when we accidentally leave the house without our phones.

My psychologist friend will not buy a smartphone. Instead he uses an old flip phone so that he can talk or text, but he had a very interesting solution for those of us who would rather keep our iPhones and Androids because they make work life a little easier.

Put your phone’s display into grayscale mode.

If you’re not sure what this does, it basically turns everything black and white. Colors stimulate the brain in ways that create a sense of urgency. We feel we have to respond now, get more information, seek novelty. But a drab, gray screen is hardly inspiring. It changes your phone from a toy to a tool.

I decided to to give grayscale a try for a week and here’s what I discovered.

I reached for my phone less often. Let’s be honest, a gray screen isn’t very inspiring. Instagram is too blah to spend much time on, and Facebook looks like a turd. It didn’t take long at all before I just didn’t feel like trolling social media.

I didn’t feel the need to always have my phone on me. Since I didn’t feel like I’d be missing something, I was OK with leaving my phone put away when I was at home. This helped me be more present when I was with my family and connect with them with fewer distractions.

My concentration improved. Our brains have to switch gears every time we “just check” something on our phones real quick. This keeps us from thinking deeply and concentrating on the issue at hand. I read more too!

So, what am I doing now that the week-long experiment is over? I’m leaving my phone in grayscale mode. The benefits I’ve experienced from a black and white phone have far outweighed the coolness and shiny object factor of a color display. I don’t feel the draw of my phone anymore. I use it as a helpful tool without getting sucked in to endless distractions.

How about you? Have you tried grayscale mode? How did it make a difference? Feel free to leave a comment below. If you haven’t tried it, give it a week and let me know how it went.