Tag Archives: relationships

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?

When it never comes….

12 Apr

So I told you at the end of my last post, I had some life-giving words to give.

I did it.

It was not easy.  Well, it was easy but …oh, just let me explain.

It took me a long, REALLY LONG, time to speak these words.

I knew years ago, they needed spoke.  But as I’ve talked before about how to give a real apology, I knew I wasn’t ready yet to not try to justify myself… or include “you hurt me too.”

In my opinion, one of the biggest hindrances to forgiveness is when we try to tackle both people’s issues at the exact same time.  Often what happens is, neither feels their issue was addressed properly and nothing truly gets resolved.

There is a time to tell someone, “you really hurt me when….”  but it’s not the exact same time you’re saying “I’m sorry that I….”

And I wanted to say that first part really badly.

Normally, I’m all about face to face apologies.  There are exceptions.  And in my case for this one situation, it was a letter kind of apology.

It was easy to write.  I did have a lot to ask forgiveness for, and I knew it! God had convicted me a long time ago, and I had repented and asked forgiveness years back.  So, there wasn’t any doubt about what I had done or why I should be sorry about it.

However, what came next was hard.

The waiting.  Knowing the letter had been read, but waiting for some kind of a response.

You never know *if* you will get a response, what it will say, or what it won’t say.  But you have to wait anyway.  We all do.

Best case scenario, you get a quick response, total forgiveness and an apology for what they may have done in or because of the situation.

That doesn’t always happen though.  And then we have to control our emotions and lead our hearts with what we’ll do next.

This might seem silly to some, but I waited 48 hours for a reply, and it felt like eternity.  In that time, I felt very vulnerable and exposed.  It seemed like my raw honesty was being ignored.  Or minimized.  Or maybe even mocked?

I wrestled being hurt or offended. But I was preaching and preaching and preaching to myself… DON’T pick anything up.  This wasn’t about me.  This was about them.  Entirely about them!  I owed an apology.  And I gave a sincere, genuine apology.  If I didn’t hear anything back, that was OK.  I didn’t have to.

The response was very nice.  I was forgiven in full.

Praise Jesus!

Yet, that one last thing was missing… “I know I hurt you too.”

…….

 

Guess what?  It’s OK.  That’s not news to my heart.  I knew that YEARS ago too.  And Jesus is the power to forgive… not simply by the receipt of an apology.

Sure — I believe in apologies.  That’s why I gave one.  But… Jesus’ paid the debt for everyone’s sins.  Mine, theirs, yours… all of us.

I don’t need to require payment to forgive.

I can forgive quickly and fully because Jesus’ has forgiven me of much worse.  He paid my sentence.  He paid their sentence.  IT IS FINISHED.

 

If you’re still waiting for that response, forgiveness, or admission of guilt from someone else….. can you look to the cross this Easter and say:

IT IS FINISHED!

Practical Application:

Am I still being a debt collector? Am I requiring payment that Jesus’ already paid?

Life or Death

9 Apr

I saw this picture I’m about to share awhile ago and I haven’t been able to get it off my mind.

You know the old saying “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Yeah, so we all know that’s not true. No need for a post explaining that.

Words can kill

However, hurt… and kill….. are those the same?

I remember a long time ago, someone said something to me and it wasn’t just a wound.  It killed me. Literally, a part of myself became dead and destroyed.

I don’t want to post what it was, because I’m sure the person remembers saying it, and well, I learned awhile ago when I almost quit blogging for good that personal stories that include other people can really be hurtful if not explained well, and I made a promise to avoid those situations in the future, because I never know who will read this one day.

At any rate, I’ve forgiven (after a LOT of years of bitterness and angst.) But… it’s definitely something I just can’t forget.

It took a lot for Jesus to revive that part of me again.  And honestly, I still protect it like it’s the most fragile part of me.

This got me thinking….

I’ve murdered a lot of people with my words

One of my biggest struggles is that when I’m hurt, I am tempted to become a loose, reckless cannon. (I am getting better.  I won’t claim victory.)

In those times, I might as well have put a shot-gun in my mouth and pulled the trigger.  Because I know I murdered others with what I said.

I remember so specifically something I said to my husband.  And I wish more than anything I could take it back. This was a LONG, LONG time ago…. but I said

“You disgust me.  I feel so bad for our boys.  I wish you weren’t their father.”

Ugh.  I start crying every time I remember that.  How could I? What was I thinking?

For the record, I don’t mean that! I didn’t then either.  My husband is an AMAZING Father!!

I just was so careless with what I would let fly out of my mouth.  I wanted him to hurt as bad as I felt like I was hurting.

Some words hurt others… some kill.

Practical Application:

If our tongues have the power to give life or death… how many dead people are in my life?

Have I given life to any enemies lately?

* I have some life-giving words to give …. more to come on that.

~~~~

On an unrelated note… sorry for being a little MIA!  I know I’ve been a little slow replying to emails, and getting new posts up!  It’s because I decided to start up a new business.

I *want* to write a huge post about it, but I know you all aren’t coming here to read about that.

BUT — just incase you might be interested at all… you can like my Facebook page here!

If you like the page, you’ll automatically be entered in a giveaway for a free product when I hit 75 page likes.

I was so skeptical of this company for over a year.  I didn’t want to risk wasting my money, however, my friend started selling and I won a couple of items for FREE, and then I fell in love.

I don’t like chemicals, but in an effort to go “more green” I tried cleaning my house with baking soda and vinegar, and it didn’t work AND my house smelled like vinegar.  So I went back to the chemicals.  Until, I found Norwex!

I’m seriously BLOWN AWAY!!!

Ok, Ok… I won’t say any more unless you contact me on facebook and want to know what all the fuss is about and how it works.

One last thing, I can do parties over the internet now without having to be in home… and it makes it possible for ANYONE to host a party with me.

The rewards are insane! I had a small party, and I got EIGHT free gifts for hosting.  Yes, EIGHT!  Totally worth it.  Easy, peasy.  And I got to try everything without risking a single penny of my own.

You’d be my hero if you decided to host an online Facebook party for me! Seriously, I’d love you forever!!!

Ok, I’m done… for real this time 🙂

Let it go.

26 Mar

Right, right… the title reminds you of the Disney song from the movie Frozen.  I wasn’t a fan of that movie. I have a whole list of reasons – but since everyone seems to LOVE it, I better not blog about it.  I’ll be down to zero followers.

I’m not talking about the movie Frozen today – however, I’m talking about a Frozen Heart.

There are some of you that used to be Lessons of Mercy followers WAY back when I use to blog on BlogSpot, and walked through life with me while I faced broken relationships and unforgiveness.  I spent a few months in counseling (I think EVERYONE should go to counseling at least once in their life!!) and getting to the bottom of all my bitterness.

It was through that time that God really unveiled the spiritual gift of Mercy in my life (hence the name change, blog location, and fresh start.)

My relationships with some people in my life were a mess.

It had reached the point of never communicating again.  It was broken.  It was over. It was NEVER, EVER able to be fixed again. (Oh, how little I knew of the power of God at that moment in my life.)

I had a list of hurts that were brutal. Unacceptable. Unforgivable. Inconceivable.

And, they were never going to change anyway, so what did it matter if I liked them or not?!

Sure, I hurt them too… but by golly, I had a right to at this point.

Do you see the problem yet?

I couldn’t be fully 100% focused on myself, and extend mercy, grace, forgiveness and understanding at the same time.

I was selfish.

I wanted my wounds tended to and then I’d take complete ownership and offer a sincere apology for what I’d done too.

I was sorry…. I never didn’t acknowledge that I played a part, but I couldn’t take my eyes off myself and my wounds long enough to care long term.  I wouldn’t let myself scar.  I kept letting the wounds be ripped open again and again and again, and then I had to tend to my own hurts and diminish the hurts of the others.

This was a common cycle in ALL of my relationships.

I was guilty of the same behavior with my husband. And some other much older friends too.

God was doing some things in the hearts of the other people at the same time that He was doing an overhaul in mine.

But it wasn’t until I took my eyes off myself, and looked at everything, EVERYTHING from their point of view that I saw a different story.

What had I really done?  Did I have the permission to tell them what really hurt them and what didn’t?  Did I have the right to expect the things I’d done to be quickly overlooked and forgiven while not extending the same grace?

HAD I ASKED GOD TO FORGIVE ME OF SOMETHING FAR WORSE THAN ANYTHING THEY HAD DONE TO ME, BUT WAS THEN REFUSING TO FORGIVE THEIR SINS???

Had I really become the man from the parable in the Bible? (Matthew 18:23-35)

I had.

I felt compassion.  I felt an understanding.  I felt remorse. I saw my sin.  I saw my failures.  I saw the hurt I caused.

(That DOESN’T MEAN I was giving justification to their choices, but it means, I was repenting of mine!)

Then came a real, (A REAL!) apology.

I’m sorry I did……..(this and this and this and this, in my case)………. please forgive me…… I’ve changed so much and I no longer have any desire to repeat those same mistakes again.

I also received sincere apologies and healing started to truly take place.  (I know you can’t control how others respond. I have apologized to some whose heart was too hard to receive it. But I will say, 9 times out of 10, if you truly apologize and love the person deeply, it’s hard to stay mad when someone is being so humble and honest.)

The immoveable mountain, moved.

Without God breaking my heart for His beloved children, I would have remained frozen forever.

What thawed the freeze in that silly movie?  LOVE.

Bingo.

When you LOVE God with all your heart, you LOVE who HE LOVES.  And He loves His children.  Even the mean ones. 🙂

Would you believe after 10 years of total brokenness, and 2 years of healing… I recently had a visit with this friend and we let our kids spend the night together?

No anxiety.  No bitterness.  No past tension.

Biblical forgiveness is miraculous.  It is unlike anything the world can teach.  It’s complete, lacking nothing.  It’s freedom.  It’s beautiful.

Practical Application:

Who do you still have on the hook to pay you back something they can never pay back?

Who do you still want to get what’s coming to them?

Who do you still get bitter feelings about when their name is mentioned?

Who do you still feel the desire to warn others about or share your side of the story first about?

If we’re about to celebrate Jesus walking that road, carrying that cross, being nailed to it, and taking on your sins….. is it time to let Him be the payment for their sins too?

Is it time to let it go???

 

 

So…you don’t like me.

28 Feb

Are there any people-pleasers in the crowd?

Wait. Wait. Wait.

Is there a difference between being a people pleaser, and feeling emotionally defeated when you’re misunderstood?

I hadn’t given this much thought until the last two days.  Why?

Because guess what — I got a LOT of support for my recent sex series (public comments and private emails and new followers).  However, I got a little backlash, some “unfollows” and my post was added by an awesome supporter to a sex discussion forum and some of the readers there, well, they let everyone else know just how much they disliked the post- and made conclusions about the author (me).

I know there are some blog authors out there who laugh hysterically when people come at them… because believe me — if you blog, you get backlash.  People really like letting you know when they disagree or think you’re stupid.

I am not one of those people.  I really find no pleasure in spending thirty minutes reading through a slew of comments that tear one of my posts apart, make wild accusations about me as a person, or worst of all claim that I do a disservice to Christianity with Scripture interpretation.

I immediately thought, man I’m such a people-pleaser to feel frustrated over these few negative comments.  I could have five hundred positive comments, and the one negative one will make me question over and over how I could have worded something different or explained something better to reach that person too.

I don’t think that is actually people-pleasing.

I actually think people-pleasing is when a person says yes to things they don’t want to do or may actually even disagree with, to gain someone’s approval. They  may agree to serve in the nursery when they really don’t feel called and are in the middle of a rough season at home with their own children.  They might join in the crowd to make fun of someone else, even though they feel immediate guilt.  Or they might go out of their way to make special arrangements in a desperate attempt to be important to someone.

That’s actually not me at all.  While I like to be liked, I can pretty easily say no when I really need to say no.  I don’t join into conversations of activities just because the crowd is doing it.  And I don’t chase down people in an attempt to mean something to them.

However, I really struggle with being disliked when I feel like one of three things is happening.

1.) I’m being misunderstood or misquoted.

2.) I feel like I’m being held to a standard that isn’t attainable for anyone, especially the person who is coming against me.

3.) I’m being wrongly accused of something I would never do.

That’ll keep me up at night.  It’ll make me battle the temptation to shut down my blog, my Facebook page, and hide in a bubble for a few months. It’ll make me shed quite a few tears feeling suffocated by things totally out of my control.

I have no desire to go back and write something that makes the people on that forum “like me”.  I actually don’t feel any sadness over the fact that they don’t.

I am NO STRANGER to not being liked.  Eh, everyone has someone or a group of people who just clash with them.

But not being liked feels a whole lot different from being wrongly accused.

So…. I got to thinking a little further.

Might this be why marriages seemingly flounder, families fall apart, and church’s are full of congregations with known enemies attending?

Are we all largely people-pleasers….. or are there more people out there like me who feel like, “You don’t like me/trust me/get me/serve me/want me/help me/love me because you don’t understand me.”

– You think things about me that aren’t true. And, oh – lets own it – I think things about you that aren’t true.  I’m just making assumptions sometimes.

– When you repeat the words I say, you say them with a tone that I never used.  You misquote me and make me sound like a jerk.

– You don’t listen to what I’m saying, you’re too busy planning what you’re going to say against me from the first phrase I uttered… without listening to my explanation.

– You have these expectations of me that I can’t live up to.

– You’re unwilling to forgive me when I make mistakes.  You hold everything over my head.  I’m not perfect.  That doesn’t mean I’m evil.

– All you can see is everything I do wrong, do you see anything I do right?

Are you in the middle of a relationship where you feel misunderstood?  Misquoted?  Held to a standard you can’t achieve? Accused of doing things you’d never do?

Let’s ask some deeper questions.

Are you in the middle of a relationship where you might be misunderstanding someone?  Have you added a tone they never used? Do you have expectations they can never possibly reach?  (This happens a lot when men expect women to be like them… or women expect men to be JUST like them.) Are you throwing around accusations that you really don’t have the hard facts to prove…. that you gained from some heavy assumptions?

Practical Application:

God’s desire for us is to reach restoration with our brothers and sisters (husbands, wives, parents, in-law, friends, church members) whenever it’s in our power to act. (God calls us to make things right before we even come to the Altar to worship Him.)

The first step to restoration is recognizing and owning your own part in the problem.  More reflection, less blame.

Set a realistic next step.  I’d never tell you restoration happens in all situations after one five-minute conversation.   But good starting points are

*self-reflection, prayer, counseling, communication, confession, apologizing, asking forgiveness and listening in humility.

We won’t always be able to reach reconciliation.  Sometimes the other party isn’t ready.  Sometimes there is no relationship there to restore (like blog commenters you don’t even now their real name.) That’s OK.  The process of uncovering *why* you don’t like someone or are mad at them will bring healing to you, and forgiveness too.  Even if everything is not completely restored.

Chance are — if they are misquoting you, misunderstanding you, or misrepresenting you, it has a lot more to do with them than you.  So dig deeper and tap into mercy.

A good lesson in mercy is learning to empathize with your enemy, instead of trying to find a way to retaliate against them or sulk in your own feelings.  Hurting people, hurt people. Ask yourself, why are they hurting?

Exemption was never a promise.

9 Feb

There is this belief that Christians choose to believe in God for the hope of a cushy life.  As if, believing in God all the sudden makes one exempt to disease, poverty, hunger, heartache and death.

If God’s purpose for us on Earth was to follow Him so we had a free pass in which we’d avoid all consequences of sin on Earth, we would never gain the wisdom of our eternal existence.  And without eternal existence….there would have been no reason for Jesus to go to the cross.  And if Jesus didn’t go to the cross, we wouldn’t even be reconciled to God in the first place, so His creation of us would have no real relevance in our life on Earth at all.

Eternal existence changes everything about our life on Earth.  Without Heaven and Hell, moral law has no relevance. In that case, we’d only love God if that guaranteed our life on Earth was abundant and free from anything bad. Otherwise, we might as well do whatever we want. Right?

The truth is, we are eternal beings.  Through sin, we are separated from God for all eternity, while on Earth and when we die.  Because of God’s great love for us, He sent Jesus to be a once for all blood sacrifice to reconcile us back to Him. For all those who understand their sin and need for a Savior, forgiveness and redemption is available at any moment! Once saved, a believer spends their life running after truth by loving God and loving others.

No exemption is offered in the plan of salvation.  The promise is that through it all, God will be glorified and the gospel will advance.  Those who love God, willingly lay down their lives – no matter what, with unshakable joy because anything that happens to us in this life will all pass away, and will be counted as loss compared to eternally being with our Creator.

Believers in God fall into three categories:

1.) Those who believe in a God…. but pick and choose their own moral law and essentially define who God is for themselves. They don’t usually attend church or read Scripture. But they quote things they’ve heard that they like.

2.) Those who believe in God and worship frequently (through church, prayer and some study) when life is good, but when the storms come, they fall away in disappointment that they weren’t exempt to the disappointments of life on Earth.

3.) Those who believe in God, and run hard after knowing Him for who He tells us He is in Scripture, and trust His moral law is good and just since He created us into existence in the first place.  Even when that means dying to the desires of our flesh, and facing situations in life that we don’t want to face or feel God should change on our behalf.

My friend Karina is a # 3 believer. She’s in her early 30’s, married and has three girls ages 8, 6, and 3. Four years ago she found out that she was facing total kidney failure.  She received a transplant on March 17th, 2011 from her older sister, almost three years ago.  A good kidney transplant should last 8-10 year (maybe longer!) She is now back in the hospital and received the news that her kidney is in rejection and even if the process is slowed, it can’t be stopped.

In the midst of all the human emotions, she will tell you with bold clarity that God is still good and His love is a promise she’d never trade, even if it meant immediate health. Because she knows, this life is NOT all there is to live for.  And that through every situation we face, her character is being refined and molded into the image of Christ and the gospel will advance.

For those of you reading along who know and love Karina personally (and to those of you reading along who know someone else who loves Christ and is up against a situation that seems so unfair) the best gift we can offer is obviously prayer.  The second best gift, is to advance the gospel.  No suffering is ever in vain when lives are turned to Christ.  Karina’s legacy and unshakable joy is passed on through us, in sharing the story and truth.  She was guaranteed no exemptions in this life, and yet, that changes nothing about her faith.  No matter what she’s called to face, the prize is eternity with Christ.

When your eyes are opened to eternal existence, you can’t help but fall in love with Jesus for being the Savior of us all, facing death on a cross.  Even if we were never given another blessing from God (which is NEVER the case, He blesses us all daily) that single act alone is the greatest gift we could EVER be given.

Take a look at the lyrics of this song “I will follow” by Vertical Church Band, and then listen along.

When the sea is calm and all is right
When I feel Your favor flood my life
Even in the good, I’ll follow You
Even in the good, I’ll follow You

When the boat is tossed upon the waves
When I wonder if You’ll keep me safe
Even in the storms, I’ll follow You
Even in the storms, I’ll follow You

I believe everything that You say You are
I believe that I have seen Your unchanging heart
In the good things and in the hardest part
I believe and I will follow You
I believe and I will follow You

When I see the wicked prospering
When I feel I have no voice to sing
Even in the want, I’ll follow You
Even in the want, I’ll follow You

When I find myself so far from home
And You lead me somewhere I don’t wanna go
Even in my death, I’ll follow You
Even in my death, I’ll follow You

When I come to end this race I’ve run
And I receive the prize that Christ has won
I will be with You in Paradise
I will be with You in Paradise

Practical Application:

What kind of believer are you?

How are you being apart of advancing the gospel when you or the ones you love are facing those moments we all define as “why do bad things happen to good people?”

The challenge to refrain from judgment.

11 Jan

No matter who you are, I am 100% confident you’ve run into this issue in your life.  And not only run into it, I am going to take a bold stance here and say that you’ve been on the giving and receiving end of this issue.  Which puts us all in the same boat.  If I’m wrong on this, and this post offends you, please accept my apology before hand — but I have never met anyone yet who has informed me this wasn’t true for them.

I’m going to talk about the reality of having and/or running into someone who has a very strong opinion or conviction about something in their life – and how we handle it and how they handle it.

Incase you’re having a hard time pulling together what I’m talking about, I’m going to give you the top issues where I believe this happens most frequently in the lives of Christians – Immunizations, Education Options, Modest dress, Alcohol consumption, Entertainment choices, Homosexual Lifestyle, and Worship Style.

I’m going to guess as you read through those, you have a preference, opinion, or conviction on them AND you can also think of someone or something that angers you on that topic because of their dogmatic approach or view.

It’s really hard to feel such a strong conviction either supported firmly in Scripture, or just by personal opinion after prayer and study and not feel like anyone who disagrees is simply dead wrong.

It’s also VERY hard not to want to help educate everyone we come in contact with about why we feel the way we feel, and hopefully “win them over” by expressing our point of view.  After all, we feel intensely passionate about our decisions, especially if we reached them after prayer.  How could they not possibly be the right answer for everyone?

If we’re honest – what is more confusing and upsetting than for two Christians to sit across the table from each other and say, “after counsel, prayer and searching Scripture, we are positive this is the direction the Lord is calling us” and they both announce opposite answers.

How can this be?

Yet, often times,  we neglect to see our own dogmatic stances and can become quickly judgmental of other “lesser Christians” for making spiritually immature choices.

But — we never miss the dogmatic stances of others.  And we take such rapid fire offense when we’re:

– Presented another option. (You know, the “I’m coming to you in love” conversation where they simply just want to tell you all the “positive” things about their choice and give you something to consider.)

– Challenged in our beliefs. (When someone comes right out and says – you’re wrong.)

Why is it that we feel such a deep need for everyone to “choose what we choose” in life?   Honestly, lets cut the fluffy ways to say it… that’s what we’re doing.

We don’t share what works for us WITHOUT being asked because we’re just sharing our success. (There is a BIG difference between being asked about a choice you’re making and finding ways to put your opinion on people when not asked.) We’re sharing because we think we’re doing something right and we want others to get it right too.

Is it a desperate attempt to confirm that we really are hearing from God?  Are we not confident enough in our own calling that we attempt to get as many other people on board as we possibly can because it only serves to confirm our choice?

We’re guilty friends.  We’re guilty of searching and seeking for like-mindedness to appease our own beliefs.  We write and read articles that appeal to our pallet of preference.  We seek counsel from those who make the same life style choices.  And we find peace in agreeing with others.

I’m not trying to say “we’re guilty” in a way that brings condemnation.  I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to seek the counsel of those who believe what you believe.  It is actually wise if you’re seeking the counsel of other Bible believing Christians.

However, I just want to give us some food for thought on how we advertise our lives.

I have a friend and I admire her deeply.  She doesn’t even know how much I admire her. But, I watch her approach to life and her spirit blesses and challenges me.

She never gives her opinion unless she’s asked.  And she always does so in a VERY loving and non-judgmental way.  She and I do not agree on everything and it has never once been an issue of contention between us.  She doesn’t lessen her friendship or love for those who do things differently than she does… and IF she struggles with judging others for making choices against her own convictions, I’ve never once see an ounce of that from her.  She has a very peaceful, gentle and quiet spirit about her that trusts deeply that God leads and convicts His children without her “vocal” assistance being forced in any way.  That doesn’t mean she believes God will not use her to speak to others in a way that may convict them, but she never feels the need to take that into her own hands.  She has total faith that the decisions they make in their family through prayer and scripture are right without seeking to prove it from thrusting them on everyone else.  Her love and friendship is not conditional.  Her convictions do not need approval from others.  And she doesn’t pick up offense when others do things differently.

She is a true Proverbs 31 woman in my book, and I hope to keep refining my character to resemble hers.

Practical Application:

Do some reflecting on how you present your convictions and accept the convictions of others.

1.) Do you offer your opinion even when you’re not asked?

2.) Do you seek to get people to agree with your choices?

3.) Do you feel like people are less Christian when they make choices that are different from choices you make?

4.) Are you offended easily when people push their convictions on you?

((To my friends who are doing the 21 day fast with me…. how are you doing?  You can email if you’d like too – gulickfamily@hotmail.com))