Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Grace Over Grudge

I know it hurts. I know you are finding it hard to forgive that person who hurt you, who offended you. Can I encourage you to make today the day you let that offense go? It's just not worth it. Do you really want to carry the weight of that grudge? I promise, it's not hurting them as much as it's hurting you.

What you may not realize is that the offense you are walking in is destroying you. It's destroying your relationship with God. It started as a seed of bitterness and it's grown into a full-blown kudzu-vine, choking the life out of your peace. And it has to go.

How? Not by your own works, that's for sure. Only by God's grace. God is the only one who has a right to be offended because He is the only one who is perfect and holy. And yet, in spite of how we offend Him each and every day, He has chosen to forgive us. He has chosen to see the best in us. And He is only asking the same of us with each other. Nothing ruins unity like an offended spirit.

Here are some Proverbs to help us along the road to forgiveness and letting go:

Good sense makes one slow to anger and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

Hatred stirs of up strife, but love covers all offenses. Proverbs 10:12

Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9

There are more, but you get the picture. God is asking us to let it go. Division and distention are the only thing that can come from an offended spirit. The root of walking in offense? Pride. Someone hurt our pride and we don't like it. Does it really matter who's right and who's wrong? If we really boil it down, doesn't it make sense to swallow that pride and let it go? What does it matter what men think, anyway? Isn't God the one we should be trying to please? (Galatians 1:10) Our pride does not come from God. If the root is pride, shouldn't we pull that root up and toss it in the garbage?

If you are still with me, I'm going to assume you are ready to let this offense go. It doesn't let your offender off the hook - it actually takes your hands off the situation and allows God to do deal with the situation. He's got a much better perspective. We cannot see their heart. We don't know the real reason they offended us. Perhaps it wasn't even intentional? But as long as we try to hold something over someone and walk in offense, God cannot and will not work in that situation. He's waiting for us to trust Him and walk in peace and unity. He will handle the situation. Our focus must be on Him, not the offense. Oh, and chances are, you've offended someone at some point, too. Wouldn't you prefer grace over grudge?

Out of my distress, I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. 
Psalm 119:5-8

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Waiting on the Dream

Dreams. We all have them. Many of us have what we believe to be God-given dreams and perhaps you are one of those people. Maybe it's been a very long time but you are beginning to get discouraged because nothing seems to be happening, though the dream gets bigger and seems to be growing in your heart. Perhaps you are ready to give up and you're questioning whether it was even God in the first place?

I totally understand where you are right now. I have been there and will probably be there again some day, as I've been through this many times! Our timing isn't always God's timing. But the dream is real and your and my focus must remain on God - allowing Him to work out the details and the timing and trusting Him along the way. That is so hard when the dream is big, the stakes are high and our faith runs low.

I recently came across a portion of my journal from 2007 when I finally received a call from Survivor Casting after many years of auditioning. I truly believed being on Survivor was a dream God put in my heart, though I couldn't explain why He would do it or how it would happen. I just knew in my heart it was Him and I was faithfully applying, twice a year for over five years.  I really hope this will encourage you to persevere and not give up on that God-given dream! He has used this experience more in my life than any other experience I've had and I can tell you, it was worth the wait. :)

What about you? What is God preparing you for right now? Maybe you aren't even sure at this moment. Trust Him! He's up to something in your life, no doubt about it. Are you ready to focus completely on your relationship with Him so He can use you "for such a time as this"? Can you remember a time when a dream in your life began to come to fruition? How did you respond?

Esther 4:14 "If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made Queen for such a time as this? 

Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Living to Please

I recently felt like I was wading in a mud pit - like quick sand. Everything seemed hard.  I'd been tired and cranky.  My husband tells me it's because I live life at a chaotic pace.  That was tough to hear, but he was right.  I don't know why I tend to live my life like this.  It's like I enjoy chaos or something, yet down deep, I long for peace and order.  The Bible tells me I'm to live peacefully and that I should let the peace of Christ rule in my heart.  Sure doesn't sound like me lately, though! 

Super Mom!

I suppose my mud puddle, which turned quickly to a mud pit, began when I decided I was going to be the "perfect mom" now that I've left my morning show position and have decided to spend more time focusing on my family and home responsibilities. Specifically, trying to be a better wife to my husband who works so hard every day. I had the image of June Cleaver in my head - I should've known I was headed for trouble! (smile)

There is a verse that is in Proverbs 31 that talks about the ideal woman - the woman I strive to be but never quite live up to.  But in verse 12 it says, "She brings him (her husband) good, not harm, all the days of her life." Lately, I've been measuring everything I do on whether or not I'm bringing good or harm to my husband with each decision I make.  Every chore I do.  Every choice I make.  Am I bringing him harm or good?  

Too many times, it seems I'm making decisions that bring him harm.  Like when I don't remember to do things because I didn't make a list that he asked me to make.  Or when I don't have dinner ready when he comes home because we've been so busy throughout the day (doing things at a chaotic pace).  Or when I do the chores instead of having our children do them (which makes my life much easier, but doesn't teach them anything). Or when the house is a disaster, even though I know my husband loves order.

The problem is, when I live this way, I go into panic-mode when I don't measure up.  I feel like when I mess up or do something wrong, it's sending him a message of "I don't care what you want" or "I have better things to do and you don't matter."  And then I begin to panic and make decisions that seem to only make things worse!  It's a vicious cycle.

So I talked to him about it.  He said something very true...very wise (he's like that).  He said, "You have to stop doing things that are motivated by your desire to please me.  You should be measuring things based on what pleases God and what you know is right.  My desires and expectations shouldn't be your motivation."  This was an ah-ha moment for me.  And hearing it from him was very freeing!  I felt like he understood that often his expectations are probably more than they should be.  But he knew that if I put God first, everything else would fall into place. 

Anytime I do something out of a desire to please someone besides God, I will get myself into trouble.  Yes, I should want to please my husband...but that comes from living to please God first.  He's the one who will guide and direct me the way I should go.  But I cannot consistently live up to the expectations a person puts onto me.  I just can't.  People don't know our hearts, don't know what we've done all day, don't know what we've accomplished or what we've been struggling with.  But God does.  He measures our actions not on unrealistic expectations, but on truth. 

I told my husband, "You know when I don't do everything the way you expect or desire, I want you to know that it doesn't mean I don't love or respect you.  I never do that intentionally.  I never want to hurt you or make life harder for you. I have good intentions, but sometimes things just are not going to be the way you would expect."  His reply to me was "I want you to know that when my expectations are not met, that doesn't mean I don't love you either - it just means I'm disappointed.  But I will always love you - nothing will change that."  Wow...I think I forget that sometimes.  Just because I don't always measure up as the "perfect wife" doesn't mean he doesn't love me.  And just because I don't always meet his expectations that doesn't mean I don't love him. 

Galatians 1:10 says "Obviously, I'm not trying to win the approval of people, but of God.  If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ's servant."  And Matthew 6:33 says "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you."  When I seek to please others above pleasing God, I'm just looking for trouble. 

Lord, thank you for showing me the truth. Now....teach me to walk in this truth! And help me to love and serve my family well.

Got Questions?