Tag Archives: gossip

What kind of friend are we?

19 May

It occurred to me while talking with my son about sharing with some friends a decision our family has made that they may not like, we have some growing to do in the area of friendship.

How to be one, and what qualities we’re really looking for in a friend.

And I have to say…. I think our first two natural responses might be off the mark.

Most people when asked…. “what quality do you cherish most in a friendship?” they reply “trustworthy.”

Ok, don’t misunderstand me… trust is needed and a GREAT quality.  But do we want trustworthiness for the right reasons?

I wrote this out the other night to a friend sharing my heart and it’s still on my mind.

So…I’m just thinking out loud here but what if we held ourselves more accountable for our actions instead of blaming our friends for not keeping all our dirty laundry quiet?

What if we put in place a standard that took away the depth of all our secrets that weren’t really secrets but things we shouldn’t be doing? An accountability measure that said “If I’m afraid someone is going to find out I said this, or I did this….then I shouldn’t be saying it or doing it.” Not one that says “How dare she/he tell someone what I said about someone else?”

What would the world look like if we taught our children that finding good friends is not about finding the best secret keepers…. but about finding the people with the least amount of secrets they hold a noose around our neck to keep quiet for them? Or actions to cover up for them?

I think we have become a people of friend jumpers because we want to be able to get away with gossip and secret lives without anyone else finding out about it. And then we blame everyone else if we end up exposed.

If we aren’t the kind of friend who has anything negative to say about others, then our friends become safe and secure with us building true intimacy and security.  They long to honor our friendship, and won’t blab true secrets that need to be kept.  Especially… because we’re telling those things to people who mimic the same standard…. if they aren’t blabbing about others, they likely won’t blab about us.

Lets be the kind of friends who don’t need to add “Don’t tell anyone I said that.” to the end of our sentences and then we won’t be disappointed if people struggle to keep quiet.

 

Women especially take on the label “catty” and often times, rightly so.  That label comes from speaking gossip, inability to refrain from repeating gossip, a fallout from distrust, and a grudge against another person.

Any secret that needs kept about ourselves first and foremost should be selectively shared with only those who are righteous in the way they relate to us and about others to us.

Practical Application:

What kind of friend am I?

Do I gossip about others?

Do I have a lot of negative opinions about things?

Do I say or expect the phrase to be assumed “don’t tell anyone I said that?”

Am I holding a grudge against someone for throwing me under the bus when really… I had no business saying what I said in the first place?

Am I a friend jumper because I’ve been untrustworthy or I tell secrets to untrustworthy people?

Only heinous people tell lies.

3 Apr

 

For the longest time, I thought I was the worst person in the whole world because I struggled with lying.

Only really terrible people do something so heinous as to make up a lie. It’s unacceptable, inexcusable, and unforgivable.
“What is WRONG with you that you wouldn’t be honest and you’d hide behind made up stories to fit in, or have something to talk about that anyone would want to listen to. You’re a fake and a total disgust of a human” are just a few of the thoughts that paralyzed me for a long time.

My husband has reassured me over and over again that EVERYONE lies. Yes, some people struggle in a more in-depth way than others if it happens to be an addictive behavior that Satan wraps them up in, but that doesn’t mean others have the authority to put themselves in a position of superiority like they are above such ugliness.

The problem is often that they classify “lying” as a definition that only includes what they “don’t do” and then conveniently exclude the ways that they lie.

There are a number of ways that we are tempted to, and even give into lying, that we rarely talk about in-depth. I’m not going to cover them all. I’m going to tackle three and hopefully I’ll start the ball rolling for you to make your own list.

1.) Lying by omission.

This is simply “not” saying all the details. I’m not describing keeping someone’s secrets, secret. It’s ok not to share everything we know about everyone with everyone. That is being a trusted friend.

Lying by omission is when we’re leaving out information, details, words, ANYTHING about ourselves that is giving someone an impression or story that isn’t entirely accurate. We might feel like we didn’t “say” anything that was a lie or that we can’t be responsible for what other people assume, however, if we are willingly painting a picture by NOT painting it, we’re lying.

Telling our spouse that we went to lunch today with a co-worker, while leaving out that it was a male co-worker, is lying by omission.

2.) Lying by repeating something with a different tone, inflection or attitude.

This happens in marriage A LOT! But that statistic in marriage might be beat out by how often this happens between women who have problems with each other.

The story changes, and the likelihood for hurt feelings and offenses greatly increases when tone of voice is misrepresented.
Picture this:
In a soft, calm voice with a smile Gina says to Penny, “Sally looked so pretty today. I bet she spent a lot of money on that dress. It was really worth it. It worked well for her.”

Penny doesn’t like Gina and always reads offenses into everything she says, so….
With a harsh, sarcastic tone she says to Sally, “Penny said you looked SSSOOO pretty today. I BET she spent A LOT of money on that dress. It was REEEAAAALLY worth it. It worked well for HER.” Flips her hair as if Gina was rudely gossiping about Sally and says “you should have seen her face.”

Sally leaves hurt and confused and now has an offense against Gina.

It’s not uncommon for spouses to say the phrase to each other “I didn’t say it like that.  I didn’t use that tone.  You’re making me sound like such a jerk!”

What if a husband says, “I’d rather you not tell me how to handle this situation. I’m struggling with the best decision and your emotions are so high right now that you’re speaking from a place of hurt.”

And the wife repeats it like this, “I’d rather YOU not tell ME how to handle this situation. (Pounds on chest) I’m struggling with the best decision and YOUR emotions are SO HIGH right now that YOU’RE speaking from a place of hurt.” (As if I’m the problem here and am messing up your life.)

In both of those situations, the words were repeated correctly…. but the heart was misrepresented and that constitutes as lying.

3.) We lie through our actions.

As a believer in Christ, this one really stings because if we have Christ, and we walk in sin…. we’re lying with our bodies.

Am I saying we can’t make mistakes?  Of course not.  We all sin.  And will all sin until we die!

But committing a sin and repenting is not the same as walking in sin continually and habitually.

We can’t claim to have Christ and yet walk a constant contradiction without lying with our bodies.

This happens often with couples who have sex before marriage.  They are telling a lie with their bodies that they are indeed one flesh when they have not truly become one flesh through permanent commitment and marriage.

This also happens when we have a habitual gossip, anger, addiction, porn, lust, pride, selfish, idolatry, money, love, forgiveness, bitterness, mercy problem(s).   We’re claiming to be a child of the living God, but constantly maligning His testimony through us.

We praise our Father, but then curse with our bodies by allowing them to follow the ways of Satan.

 

Sometimes we get so judgmental of other who struggle in ways WE never would, all the while, missing how we maybe aren’t that far from them.

That’s why Jesus likens hate to murder and lust to adultery. We may not be letting others see it on the outside, but in our hearts, we’ve already sinned.

 

Practical Application:

Are you trapped right now by Satan because of something you struggle with that you are believing no one else struggles with or is as horrible as you?

(Comment below or shoot me an email… I’ll help you uncover why that’s a lie too!!!)

Are you judging someone else for being so much worse than you are because you’d never do what they do?

Have you ever told a lie in any of these ways? Does this change how you feel?

 

The Rabble.

15 Nov

I never really read my Bible until I was 26 years old.  I mean, I looked up verses I knew were in there, I read the Christmas story every year, and I read different sections when I was studying it with a Bible Study Class — but just opening the Bible to read through it — Never.

Then my husband told me one day he was reading all the way through his Bible and I thought — what?! He can’t do something *I’m* not doing spiritually.  So, I set out to read all the way through my Bible.  And my life DRASTICALLY changed in that 9 months.

I don’t know how to describe it, it’s not like fireworks went off and smoke rose from the ground.  And it didn’t happen in just a day or a week.  But throughout that nine months, I grew SO MUCH in my knowledge of who God was, how He feels about us, what He put us here to do, and how much more is in that book than even 80% of those who call themselves Christians realize.

Since then, I’ve read through my Bible about 4-5 more times. But I usually read the Old Testament then the New Testament and then the New Testament again, before going back to the Old Testament.  Not for any major reason other than, I LOVE what is in the New Testament!!

At any rate, even though I have a hunger for God’s Word and it has changed me life — I still feel like some Books and Sections of Scripture are BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I said it — I didn’t say irrelevant but PULL YOUR HAIR OUT OF YOUR HEAD BORING, for sure!

ESPECIALLY Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, which happens to be RIGHT where I am right now.

But even though it’s sometimes hard to get through, there are hidden gems in there that are so valuable!!

Like in Numbers when the Israelites are on their journey with Moses from Egypt to the Promise Land, from Slavery to Freedom, and yet – all the ways they find to complain and grow in anger against Moses is UNBELIEVABLE!!!

I’m not going into a full lesson on Moses here – that’d take weeks to do!

But I will point out one verse that speaks VOLUMES! (And actually it’s in there a couple of times but reading it once is actually powerful enough I think.)

Numbers 11:4

“The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat!”

The WHO began to crave other food?

Yes, THE RABBLE. — The people they picked up along the way on their journey to freedom.

And what happened because of the cravings of the rabble?  The Israelites started having cravings and only saw what they didn’t have.  They quickly forgot how terrible things use to be, and what God was doing in their lives — and what the RABBLE said became their only focus.

It leads me to ask……What might RABBLE look like today?

Those who are constantly complaining, tempting you to be full of cravings for the world, pointing out the negative in their life or your life so that is all you can see, causing you to spend too much time thinking about what you don’t have instead of what you do have?

Now hear me a second — I’m not talking about walking through life with a spouse, family member, or friend in a time of trial or crisis. That is NOT the same.

I’m talking about those people who are temptations for us to have our eyes, hearts and attention on the interests of the world or ourselves instead of the interests of God, and then we function poorly as a result.

Practical Application:

Do you have any RABBLE in your life?

The temptations of Social Media.

19 Sep

For every good thing about Facebook, I’m starting to believe there are at least two bad things as well.  What did we ever do in life before we sat around all day long checking in on what everyone else was doing through out their day? How did we ever spend our time before we wasted it looking at status updates, pictures and playing games?  Who did we choose to tell our big news to before we could just broadcast it to everyone we’ve ever met in life and all their friends too?

I don’t think Facebook is bad.  But I think it’s a huge temptation for people to behave poorly.

I’m SO beyond guilty of neglecting my kids, home, husband and ministries by wasting hours looking at, well honestly, 90% garbage for 10% worth-while updates.

Scripture warns about idle women.  They are always “busy” in others business and become a  busy-body by what they say. ( I Timothy 5:13 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to.)

Don’t we do that sometimes (or often times)?  Don’t we judge others by what they post?  But look forward to the next thing they’re going to say? Or somehow think it’s our business to think critically for them? Or judge them?

What really has me concerned is the things we allow to flow from our fingers.

~ Frustrations with our spouse.

This is dangerous, disrespectful and very damaging.  Not only is it humiliating to your spouse to have their mistakes broadcast to the world… the picture you paint of their mistakes becomes the only picture of which people view them.

Scripture tells us we’ll be judged by the measure in which we judge.  And we have all made mistakes – and some pretty nasty ones.  If we’re going to broadcast others, we better be simultaneously broadcasting our own so we can paint the real picture of ourselves too.

Oh wait?  You’re more than your mistakes?  Whew, cause I am too.  And so is everyone else. Especially your spouse.

~ Secrets that would humiliate our kids if they knew they were being shared?

You don’t have to be 18 years old to be old enough to be embarrassed.  Or have a Facebook account to experience humiliation.  We can totally embarrass and belittle someone,  and it’s cruel and dishonoring – even if they don’t have an account to read it themselves.  You just never know what other parent is going to read it and tell their kid and that kid tells your kid.  Or the image you’re painting of your own child.  Again I will say, painting a picture of someone on only their mistakes, questions, funny misunderstandings or life experiences (even if humorous) is discrediting them in all their intelligence and amazing qualities.

~Eye witness events from people in our life that bother us. (Especially in-laws, church members, teachers, neighbors and ex-friends.)

I hate this one.  I believe this one TOTALLY discredits us as believers in Christ.  For one, it’s extremely unloving.  And Scripture says the world will know we are Christians by OUR LOVE. For two, it’s immature and idle talk.  And three, it’s only posted with the intent to humiliate, belittle or cause others to have a negative opinion of someone else.  ALL of these things are unlike Christ’s example for us, unholy, not beneficial, and damaging to our testimonies as believers.  Who would want to be saved if that just means they’ll become cruel and immature in their speech about  others?

We have no right to use Facebook as a platform to allow the world to hear our opinions about people we are judging or don’t like. This just takes our previous struggle with gossip to a few people and makes us guilty of gossiping to hundreds at a time!

And, we’re not fooling anyone when we think we’re “hiding” our true intent by masking it with “I just love when people …..” or “It’s so great when you walk into a person and they pretend …..”  all the while having someone very specific in mind but patting our self on the back by being “sneaking” and “careful” not to directly talk about someone.  Bad news…. it’s still talking directly about someone even if you don’t post their name.

~Assumptions about people based on partial knowledge or facts.

I think this one shows up more in our comments than even our own posts.  Someone else posts something about someone/something – We’re given a few sentences –  Maybe all true, maybe all false, and maybe just opinions –  And somehow, we think we have enough information to offer advice.  “You deserve better”  or “You should quit that job” or “Those people are such jerks.”

Really?  You’re sure that’s wisdom off of one off-handed post from someone in a disgruntled state of mind?

I wish all the Christians were hanging together and never participating in any of this, but it just isn’t so.  Christians or not, we’re tempted to join in, participate, and post inappropriate things. It’s juicy, glamorous, inviting and accepting temptations from Satan.  And it doesn’t seem “obviously” wrong in the moment. Besides, everyone else is doing it.

Satan rarely works in obvious and disturbing ways.  Otherwise, none of us would ever sin.

But I’m calling us out church.

We have no business judging those outside the church.  God tells us that His wrath is coming on unbelievers and it’s not our place to judge them. So – any talk about non-believers should not leave our lips, or fingers.  We know better.  And we should have empathy for the lost.  Not ridicule.

And to those of us in the church — I think it’s about time we start to judge our actions against scripture and hold each other accountable like we’re instructed to do. (Instead of falsely believing the scriptures about not judging each other applies to us.  They don’t.  We ARE suppose to judge amongst believers!)  We need not allow Social Media to trick us into being idle busybodies.

If our actions aren’t honorable before the Lord through our social media accounts – it’s time we clean them up, or delete them.

I’m the first to say – I’ve been idle.  I could do SO much more with my time.  I am wasting opportunities and have nothing to show for it.

How about you?

Practical Application –

Spend some time in prayer.  Ask God to give you new eyes when you sit down at your computer the next time to review your social media accounts.  Review your past updates.  Evaluate the words being typed by others.  Go back and look at friends post that you’ve liked and commented on.

Are you doing well in this area?

Or do you have some changes to make?

Are you checking it minimally for important connections and fun entertainment?

Or are you wasting hours each day being idle and unproductive at your job, in your home, and in your community?

Picking up other people’s offenses.

22 Feb

If all you ever hear about someone comes from his/her enemy, chances are, all you know about him/her is the mistakes they’ve made and how someone else perceived those mistakes.

You’re usually not hearing anything about what the person speaking to you may or may not have done to the other person they are talking about to participate or encourage the negative behavior, but you’ll get explicit details about the failures of the person that has hurt them or that they don’t like.

We REALLY need to caution ourselves from forming opinions about people when 90% of what we know about them is negative.  Let me be VERY clear about this.  VERY, VERY, VERY few people who walk this Earth are 90% evil and malicious.  EVERYONE is SO MUCH MORE than the mistakes that they make and the hurt feelings they’ve caused.

Imagine your enemy painting a picture of you.  Would it be accurate to who you really are as a person?

Tomorrow night is going to be tricky for me.

I knew a girl who I started to build a friendship with.  She then created a much more intense and deeper friendship with some who didn’t like me AT ALL!  Quickly, this girl changed her opinions of me.  And I never heard from her again and started getting dirty looks and the cold shoulder.

About 6-8 months ago, she spoke to a mutual friend of ours and basically questioned her on if she should be friends with me.  It felt like  a betrayal to the friend of theirs that doesn’t like me at all, whom they should be *more* loyal to.  And based on what she had heard about me (NOT by experience, SOLELY by someone elses opinions) she felt I was a bad friend, couldn’t be trusted, and wasn’t worthy to be around.

Thankfully, my really awesome friend told her in a kind way that she wasn’t going to talk about me, and she was going to maintain a friendship with me.

Well, tomorrow night, it just so happens, I’ll be riding in a car with the mutual friend, and the girl who decided she doesn’t like me (the previous enemy will not be with us) for 40 minutes.

I don’t have any bitter feelings at all.  But I bet she’s going to be squirming in her seat because she told this person that she shouldn’t be friends with me, and yet, she’s going to have to witness first hand that we are indeed, still friends.

Practical Application:

– COVER TOMORROW IN PRAYER! It’s going to be an awkward situation and I really want to be prepared to show grace and mercy in the way that Christ would have me afford this situation.

– Spend some time thinking today about people that I have negative opinions of that are solely or mostly based on the opinions and stories of someone else, (especially those hurt by the person they are talking about!)  Repent of that judgment.  Get my head screwed on straight.  Apologize if needed.

Friendships

9 Feb

Hey ladies!  I’m going to tackle the big topic of FRIENDSHIPS today from a couple of angles.  I’m really excited about this post and hope it’ll be educating, encouraging, and ring true across the board for all of us.

Every girl needs friends.  And it starts at a YOUNG age, the battle for attention and friendship.  Girls don’t start being “catty” with each other over boys (they eventually get to that) but they actually start that nasty habit over jealousy between friendships with other girls.  When a girl thinks she’s got a best friend, and someone else swoops in there to invite that friend to a sleep over, tell a secret to, or WORST of all, she betrays your trust and tells another girl YOUR secret… the feelings are crushed, the claws come out, and the fur starts flying!

Some of you reading this have a best friend right now.  For some of you, you’re lucky enough to have a GREAT best friend.  For others of you, as we talk some more, you might end up feeling a little different about that friendship by the end of this post.

Some of you use to have a best friend, but because of situations, circumstances, or whatever – the friendship has dissolved (or at least is no longer what it once was) and you’re feeling lonely.

Some of you have never had a best friend really ever, and the hurt and disappointment from that is very real, and it doesn’t go away with age.

There are friendships in our lives that are seasonal.  And that is OK!!  Please, this is very important, do not read this post with the mindset that if all your friendships don’t align and fall into a checklist of sorts that we’ll put together, that you should feel depressed or end all your friendships.  That is NOT where we’re headed.

I didn’t really understand this very well growing up because I was always the little girl who had a best friend, and then would end up feeling “ditched” when the more popular girls were around or life circumstances changed.  So, in an effort to find a best friend, I became very transparent, loved with my whole heart, put GREAT effort into being a really good friend, and then suffered a lot of heart ache when those friendships turned out to be disappointing and not reciprocated in the same way with the same effort.

I know it seems like everyone out there has a BFF – but believe me, MORE women are out there who are lonely, or who have MANY friendships but none of those women REALLY know the woman at all.  They are surface or skin deep for protection.

I have finally reached a place in my life where I have a network of best friends.  It took me a LONG, lonely, painful time to get here.  But some of the struggle was simply letting go of my expectations and realizing that friendships can look really different and still be fulfilling!

For example, here’s my network.

I have acquaintances.  Some I see in person but some are strictly social-media connections that are fun to keep up on major things in each others life, like Facebook statuses, and maybe even chat about old memories.

I have a lot of friends that I hardly ever see or ever (some never) talk to on the phone.  We have different schedules, different priorities, some a large distance to travel between us, and we just can’t connect often.  But we have a great history together, and when an immediate need or prayer request is urgent, they are just a phone call, text message, email , or FB message away and we know we love each other.

I have other friends (which this is depth of where the MAJORITY of  friendships lie for everyone) that I see or talk to often enough, and we can catch up pretty easily, but we don’t have all the same convictions, beliefs, time, schedules, or some other thing that keeps us from being extremely intimate of friends who know every secret.

Then I have two girls that I don’t keep in daily contact with always, but for the most part, we’re always updating each other.  Our text messages, FB messages, and occasional phone calls  or play dates help us stay on top of all the big things and we’re always praying for each other.

And then there’s my best friend.  We talk almost daily.  (Do you have to talk daily to have a best friend – NO!!) But for us, we are so similar that we do very well to yap our jaws 100 miles an hour to each other to sort out our feelings, seek godly counsel/be held accountable, and prevent ourselves from huge disappointments of leaving ourselves with a deep need that our husbands (as men) can’t fill.

She posted this on my FB wall this week – and I love it!

Best FriendI was sick with the stomach flu the day she posted it, so I saw it later that day and wrote “love ya girl” but last night when I was scrolling down my page and saw it again, not only did I smile and feel such a love for this girl… but I noticed something else – so I wrote this back to her “You’re totally the one in the bikini because I would SO never wear anything like that.”  HA! (Let me clarify so you can laugh with us, she wouldn’t wear a bikini either… but truth be told, we both WISH we didn’t have all the hanging stomach skin and stretch marks from the kids that if we ever WANTED to even strictly wear one in the bedroom for our men only, we could.  But we don’t like to talk about that, so we’ll just leave it at, Bikini’s are evil and only prostitutes wear them! : )

The reasons my friendships with my three/four closest friends works so well are because of this check list:

1.) We are BOTH very real and transparent.

At no time will either of us ever put on a mask, pretend to be perfect, withhold relating for fear of how it might make us or our marriage look, or hide our real feelings.

2.) We are BOTH very honest.

Neither of us ever holds back or has fear of the other person.  A great number of friends have a level of fear in them that is unhealthy for keeping that person as a best friend.  It’s the fear that if you tell someone the truth about yourself, it’ll ruin the friendship.  Or that if you tell them the truth about something they’ve done to hurt you or someone else, that the friendship will suffer and you’ll lose them or be punished in some way.

3.) We hold each other accountable.

When we hear or see something that worries us that our friend might be flirting with sin, missing a big red flag, or just so caught up in their emotions that they can’t see things rationally or from someone else’s side, we tell them – and we do it right away.  None of these friendships would ever let me get away with out right sinning without calling me on it immediately. And I’d do the same for them.

4.) We allow for safe venting.

Sometimes we know that our feelings might be teetering a selfish line pretty closely, but we just need someone to listen and validate or justify our feelings.  That DOES NOT mean they justify my prideful actions and encourage selfish behavior, but they do give me a safe place to sort out my feelings and acknowledge that sometimes life is hard and things hurt, even though I need to choose a higher road.

5.) We are TOTALLY FOR each others marriages.

You are never going to hear the words come from any of our mouths – “He doesn’t deserve you.  You should leave his sorry butt.  Get out while you’re still young enough to get someone else.  His sins are unforgivable.  You can’t put up with that.”  That just doesn’t happen.  You might hear something like “Oh man, that probably really hurt your feelings.  I’m sorry.  Now let’s look at what he might have been feelings, or where you might have went wrong in the conversation to contribute to steering it that way.”  We ALWAYS want to show each other where our own sins are and how we can be better wives!

6.) We protect each other’s secrets and reputation.

We don’t go around behind each other’s backs blabbing secrets, stories, or slander their reputation in private.

7.) We pray for each other.

Let’s face it.  We’ve all said “I’ll pray for you” and then either just not done it, or seriously forgot about it.  In these friendships, that doesn’t happen.  When we say, we’re praying, we’re really praying.

8.) We don’t let each other get away with gossip.

This looks different all the time.  Remember from above, that I honestly do believe someone can vent to THE RIGHT PERSON to sort out their feelings without being in danger of gossip.  So much of it comes to the attitude of the heart.  If they are trying only to destroy the other person’s name or reputation, then we carefully point out the danger of what they’re doing, or gently change the subject.  If however, they are just trying to sort out their feelings and really figure out the godly way to move forward, then we patiently allow that to happen without making unnecessary judgements.

9.) We don’t judge each other.

We all struggle with different things at different times and there is no room for judging someone because temptation or sin is present.  None of us is above any sin and it isn’t about whose better or anything like that at all.

10.) We love each other deeply.

We’d do ANYTHING for each other.  We forgive quickly. We don’t dwell on mistakes. We offer a lot of mercy and grace.  And we genuinely love each other.

If you were reading through that check list and felt like some of your “best” friendships don’t fit, then maybe it is time to evaluate those friendships.  That doesn’t always mean you cut someone out of your life just because they aren’t your best friend!! But it does mean that you protect your heart from extending an offer at best friendship when a relationship is unequally yoked.

Just like in marriage, if one spouse is a believer and one is not, they are unequally yoked and they face a life of disagreements and different convictions.  The same is true of friendships.

And the truth is ladies, more women than you’d believe are out there praying for a best friend because most of us really don’t have one.

Most often, we need to learn how to be a good best friend ourselves, and then also finding someone who can be one back.

You’d be surprised – some of my closest prayer partners are ladies I just met over the internet 6-8 months ago!  They aren’t my very best friends, but we’re building genuine, honest, faithful friendships through emails and blogs.

Practical Application:

Start by evaluating your own friendships against the check list.  Maybe some friends are really a lot of drama & hurt feelings and need to be demoted in position a little (without some big verbal fall out!!)  Or maybe you have a good friend who you never realized WAS such a good friend and really needs bumped up in position.

Accept different levels of friendship. Maybe you’re like I was for years and you felt like either everyone needed to be a genuine best friend, or they were an acquaintance only.   It’s OK to have seasonal friends, or friends that are awesome to catch up with once a month, who don’t know every intimate detail because of some different priorities or convictions, and that can still be a very fulfilling relationship without having to put unnecessary expectations on the friendship that it can’t live up to, and then losing the friend completely.

Examine the kind of friend YOU are. If there is someone in your life whom you are afraid to be honest with for fear of a fall out, or you could never tell them what you really think about their attitude toward their co-worker,  or you gossip behind their back, or you tell them they’d be better without that loser husband… then you either have some serious work to do to be a good friend yourself, or you are trying to be a best friend with someone you are unequally yoked with and don’t really feel safe with.

Finally, take time to thank your best friends if you truly have them already.  Or spend some serious time in prayer (and fasting) for the Lord to bring this kind of friend into your life AND to help you be this kind of friend.

 

 

 

These roots run deep…

6 Dec

It was NOT my plan to revisit bitterness tonight.  Funny how God doesn’t let our plans guide His plans.

I NEED to revisit bitterness tonight… and God used a special and dear friend to my heart sharing that she needs to revisit bitterness, for God to gently aggressively point out that I too, need to spend some time on this issue.

The roots of bitterness run D E E P.  Most of us who have dealt with this issue, try to rip the plant out, and somehow, we get that stubborn plant that breaks off just under the surface, but doesn’t bring up the entire root system.  You know how fast a weed grows the first time? It grows TWICE as fast when the root system is still in place and it just needs to poke back through the ground.

The exact same truth applies to bitterness.  When the root system is in place, we can forgive (and truly mean it) on a surface level, but when the root receives a touch of water, the bitterness comes back with a vengeance.  And this time, we and even MORE prone to miss it, because we still think we pulled it out the first time when we broke it off just under the surface.

Have you ever seen just one lone weed?  If you have, you might be the only person who has ever seen that.  Weeds spread VERY easily.  They seed quickly and aggressively. Where there is one weed, there are 20 weeds.

Again, bitterness is no different.  Bitterness will drop the seeds of unforgiveness, anger, resentment, jealousy, judgement, pride, and others within a matter of hours, and left unattended, will not stop dropping seeds for a lifetime.

So how can you know if bitterness exists in your life?

My friends and I were tossing some truths around via email today… and I’m going to share them with you.

– I’m angry with someone.

– I feel tense at just the mention of his/her name.

– I have anxiety if I have to see them.

– I can justify my actions toward them.

– I puff with pride when discussing how I’d never handle things the way they do or at how much better I am than them. (Especially spiritually speaking.)

– I make jokes about them.

– I worry about what they think of me.

– I assume they never think any goodwill of me or my family.

– I want to or often gossip about that person.

– I fear the person.

– I  want to avoid that person and will even go out of my way to NOT see them or have to talk to them.

– I  assume the worst about them.

– I want to judge and criticize them personally and all their actions and decisions.

– I can’t forgive them for what they’ve done.

 

We’ll be able to talk more about how to handle this (confess and repent) in the future.

For tonight’s practical application…

It’s just simply time to NAME IT, if this sin belongs to you (AND me!) Let’s call it out and stop pretending we aren’t really bitter, if we are still bitter.