Live and Learn

A friend of mine posted this:

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I laughed at the sentiment because I understood what she meant.  Not that I would call another human being trash, but I understand the thought.  People that are toxic to you emotionally and mentally, need to be removed from your life.  They are useless to your forward motion and your journey in life.  They become neither helpful or relevant. Part of walking on water is learning about people and who those people really are.   Those that withdraw love, friendship or contact with the wind are “fair weather friends”.

My mom used to use this phrase all the time and it’s taken me until 54 to learn what that truly means.  My son and I were up at 2 AM one morning and I told him that in life you probably only going to have 1 or 2 true friends.  That’s reality.  Everybody ain’t yo friend. When people withdraw themselves from your life, sometimes it’s a blessing.  It makes you see how much they did not value you as a person in the first place.  You were, to them, some kind of tool they could use temporarily.  Maybe your presence made them feel a certain way, or they simply looked at you as an acquaintance and not a friend.  It’s not that you become close to everybody—that’s impossible, but it’s the people who try to sell you on their love and care and then cut you off that are amazing.  You can’t think of anything that would cause it, or anything you’ve done but all of a sudden the contact stops.

It’s tough when the cold water of reality hits you in the face.

I was never that important to you anyway.

So you live and learn.

God encouraged me one time when cold shoulders have hit me in life that I had not wasted time at all.  Everything we do in sincerity and every person we meet teaches us something about life.   My husband told me years ago, “Because you’ve experienced these things, sweetie, now you know who not to be”.

  1. He encouraged me that hard lessons learned are the ones that stick, never think your time was wasted.
  2. He let me know that my sincerity is what HE values.
  3. He removed toxic people from my life because God is truth and he never wants us to be deceived about who people are.
  4. He reminded me that their removal was His design so that I wouldn’t lean on false support but only on Him.
  5. He showed me that anything we do with a good heart will never be ignored by Him and He is what is important in life.

Often you can look at the mistakes you’ve made in trusting people and say “how could I be so stupid”?  How could I have been so careless with my life and my time?   But it’s then you begin to see that those people who’ve cut you off, never did truly value you as a person.  You meant something to them but only in your own mind but not in reality.

And that’s the point, isn’t it?  The line between fantasy and reality.

A person showed me a chart one time.  On one side there was a circle called Fantasy and the other Side was an overlapping circle called Reality. There was a space in between where a person has to find a balance of what is achievable in a relationship.

Our fantasies about the character of people will eventually clash with the reality of their character.  We are all human.  Thankfully, I am learning to find those spaces where I keep fantasy at bay and deal with the reality accepting who they are and who they are supposed to be in my life.  Sometimes people are just lessons—that’s all.

When people say they love you and care about you, should you believe them or realize that people often just say things to fill up space or because they have a feeling of love, but don’t understand the reality?  You figure, “Oh… I get it.  It’s time for me to lower my expectations”.

It’s like buyer’s remorse.  You bought what they sold but you were sadly disappointed in the performance of the product.  No matter how hard the sell, (and you often do get the hard hustle sell “I really do care about you” “I really I do!”).  You look at their actions and sometimes you can even look into their eyes and you know it’s a scam.  It’s particularly disheartening when they are using the bible to sell the love product.

I was listening to a detective story one time and the detective explained his approach to his casework. “One or two coincidences, maybe, but when you have coincidence, after coincidence, after coincidence. Well to believe anything else is just plain stupid.”

I saw a sign one time that said:

“YOU WILL NEVER FIND THE RIGHT PERSON UNTIL YOU LET GO OF THE WRONG ONE”.

Lesson learned.

 

 

 

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Meditation Builds Spiritual Strength

download (2)Do you ever wonder why sometimes you feel spiritually weak?  Check your levels of meditation. I can’t even list how many times in scripture God encourages us to meditate on his words.   There’s something wonderful that happens when we read and think about the words of God.  Not only do you begin to take in the true meaning of the words but they actually begin to change your thought process.

You see, as you think and think over the words again, they become a part of your mind and your heart.  Eventually, it will come out in our actions.  David said, “thy word have I  hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).  It is harder to ignore that voice in your head warning you against doing wrong when that voice has been allowed to drill into your mind.

I was reading a passage in Joshua, Chapter 1, verse 8 that caught my eye.

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

You may say how can I meditate day and night?   It’s just like when you eat a good meal and you remember that meal.  You bring it back up in conversation and may encourage a friend to try the dish or the restaurant where it was served.    When something is good to you, it will come back up and you’ll think about it.

Meditation is an exercise of the mind.  You become more spiritual when you think on the Word of God, which Christ said is the bread of life. Christ is the Word and the Word gives life to our spirit.   When we take in what is right, our spirit will reject what is wrong

When we take in what is right, our spirit will reject what is wrong and sinful.  We will lose our taste for wrongdoing if we take in and meditate on His words.  Sure, the flesh will always want wrong but we will find a strength to say no.  Our desires will change toward good and our heart will be affected by the power of divinely inspired words.

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Worry Never Changes Anything

One summer afternoon, I received two notices: the gas was going to get turned off and the bank was going to foreclose on our home.  I did what most responsible adults would do—I worried.  How can I fix this?  I pondered. Who can I call to help me?  It’s amazing how easily we can tell others no to worry until we are the ones who have to pack our bags and sit on the curb.  Panic started to trickle in.  My daughter, who was about seven years old, was concentrating on a double-dutch game. I had promised to show her how to turn while she was jumping rope.  She came in from playing outside and said,  “Come on, Mom; I thought you were going to show me.”

My first reaction was “Not now.”  But then I realized that life goes on and there was nothing I was going to do in the ten to fifteen minutes it would take to show her that would mean a hill of beans in the outcome of the situation.  In fact, I probably would have just sat and worried some more.  So she and I went outside, played Double Dutch, and had a great time. Both of us got really involved in the game, and I was able to relieve the emotional stress of the looming crisis. We all have to “let go” when we need to. My husband always says, “When there’s nothing you can do…there’s just nothing you can do.”  As adults, our lives can be filled with stressful circumstances, but I learned that day that having the heart of a child helps us relieve that stress.

Having the heart of a child, even in adult situations, is what the Bible encourages us to do.

Matthew 18:3 (KVJ) says, “ …Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Children are more trusting than adults and adjust to their circumstances more easily. As we grow older, we learn that everything may not turn out the way we’d like. Our problems seem larger and the consequences greater.  What was once a natural reaction—adjusting—has now become a chore. So as adults, we lose our sense of safety and have to relearn how to find the silver lining in the clouds,  smile when things are going badly, and trust that we will survive whatever happens to us. Seem impossible? Seem unrealistic?download

As I go through life, I realize God enables us to accomplish the same impossible feats over and over again when we overcome our fears and stretch out on faith.  I hope the stories I share with you will encourage you to trust God with your life. And even though you will make mistakes because that is part of the journey of life, I hope the lessons I’ve learned will teach you not to make the same mistakes that took me so long to realize I had made.

How Do You See Jesus?

 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

Philipians 1:29

Trials can feel more difficult when we lose our vision that we’re called to suffer for Christ’s sake. The need for suffering in learning about Christ in our Christian walk is clearly spelled out in the following scriptures.

1 Peter 4:1; Romans 8:17; Philippians 3:10, and 4:12; Hebrews 2:10 .

Christians can view Jesus all kinds of ways: He can be  Norman Vincent Peale, the positive thinker, and self-help guru; as Warren Buffet, the businessman and investment tycoon who brings prosperity; or as the social revolutionary whose only job is to fight for justice and give food and clothing to the poor, huddling mass of people. Somehow the Savior from sin, Deliverer, and personal friend gets lost in the shuffle. Continue reading

Are Negative Personality Traits An Excuse to Sin?

For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,  Hebrews 2:11

Our backgrounds, childhoods, upbringing can affect our personality traits. But does this necessarily have to hurt our walk with the Lord? Sometimes it can. God never tempts any man toward sin.  The fault lies in our own desires and temptation from Satan. God allows us to see our personal weaknesses so that we may better understand ourselves and as a result,  lay these undesirable characteristics at the feet of Jesus.

God sees all of our issues: our need for attention, our coldness toward people, our shyness, our tendencies to be aggressive, our suspicious and mistrustful eyes, our stubbornness, or avoidance of communication and conflicts, our exaggerations, our need to emulate others, our desire to exalt ourselves, our insecurities with ourselves, our hastiness, our passivity, or our controlling nature.  All are shortcomings that God wants us to eradicate from our lives. All are areas to which God does not turn a blind eye. When God creates situations that show us the negative side of our personality, it is for our growth as a believer.  We have loving God that shepherds our spiritual development.

Yet, after the situation has passed, we should examine why the struggle  with our personality happened in the first place: “Why did I overreact to that question?”  “Why did I assume the other person was wrong?”  “Why was I hurt by this situation?” If we are unwilling to seek God for the answers to these questions, we will only have a shallow Christian experience and not the deeper walk that God wants us to enjoy.

For example, a conflict between people is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to degenerate into catastrophic damage. Disturbances in relationships with the people around us often happen when differing views collide.  The collision can be the result of opposite perceptions.  People’s backgrounds and past experiences can affect how they view day-to-day situations. The way they think, the way they react to things or perceive things or the words that come out of their mouths. Someone who gets frustrated or gives up easily, for example, may need more encouragement to find a job or overcome a lingering trial because they lack perseverance. He or she doesn’t see things through to the end and quits too soon.  That person may struggle more to complete a task than someone who regularly sticks to his or her guns. God sees this weakness, however, and will send that person through areas that will try his or her stamina in that particular area. He will put that person in conflicts where he or she has to stay the course and see things through to the end without complaining.

Personality traits can hinder accomplishing goals.  Someone who gets frustrated or gives up easily, for example, may need more encouragement to find a job or overcome a lingering spiritual battle because they lack perseverance. He or she doesn’t see things through to the end and quits too soon.  That person may struggle more to complete a simple task than someone who regularly sticks to his or her guns. God sees this weakness, however, and will send that person through areas that will try his or her stamina. He will put that person in situations and conflicts where he or she has to stay the course and see things through to the end without complaining.

Christians even after being forgiven of all their sin, can hold onto behaviors such as laziness, undue criticism of others, controlling behaviors, perfectionism, stinginess, over-sensitiveness, stubbornness,  mistrust of others, argumentative behavior or chronic impatience for a variety of reasons having to do with their backgrounds. Although it is essential to get to the bottom of our personality issues, our background should never be an excuse for sinful behavior.  To sin, you have to make a choice.  In order to keep doing what’s right, the Christian must recognize and push back against the wrong that presents itself through the flesh.

God will come in through the sanctifying experience and give us the power to face these character killers, cleanse us and transform our personality where he will not be ashamed to call us brethren.

from How to Walk on Water              DOWNLOAD THE BOOK