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Loving perfectly

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People come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.”  — anonymous

You know, sometimes people can be difficult?  What?  That’s not a shock to you?  Well, how about this:  sometimes YOU can be difficult.  I bet that one was more of a surprise, but not really.  We all have human failings that cause difficulties in our communications with others and with God.  Sometimes, the struggle to deal with difficult people (or people who are difficult in a specific situation) can bring up a few difficulties in one’s self.  It often brings out the ick in us as we struggle with the issue.

Ick # 1:  Depression.

Depression, or the pity party, hits some of us when we face difficulties, and especially difficult people.  Some of you do not struggle with this, but some of you, like me, do.  I don’t like confrontation.  I use it when necessary, but I don’t like it.  This struggle often brings me to a mood dip.  My mood dip can be a shallow dip or a great big gorge, depending on the situation.  I have learned over the years that the depth of the dip depends on me and my attitude.  If I deal with it, the moment passes quickly.  If I dwell on it, I can find myself in over my head.

Ick # 2:  Anger

The Bible says to ‘be angry and sin not’ (Ephesians 4:26), implying that anger is not the main issue.  Anger is a feeling.  Feeding anger leads to sin.  Anger has to be dealt with quickly.  The definition of quickly depends on the person and the situation, but un-dealt-with anger is a raging fire that burns the angry person and anyone in his or her path.  In the case of sinful anger, the root is often pride.  How dare that person say that to me/do that to me/treat me that way!  I don’t deserve this!  We tend to magnify the other person’s offense and minimize our own actions (like how we often do the same to others).  The only solution is to recognize the truth about the situation and then forgive.

Ick # 3:  Pay Back

Have you ever wanted to do to someone what they did to you?  You think they should feel the pain you feel, often with the thought that they would then apologize profusely and not do it again.   This is revenge, and revenge is not sweet!  This tendency to want to hurt when we are hurt.  This tendency just perpetuates the cycle and does not open up the doors of communication; it slams them shut!

I’m sure there’s more ick, but we’ll settle on these three for now.  I have been dealing with all of these issues – internally – and figuring out how to deal with it in a healthy way.  My human nature’s instincts are not of God, and they cannot bring reconciliation and open communication to the situation(s).  It’s funny how we can walk around with this festering sore inside us, while the other people have no clue there’s even a problem.

Are you self-aware?  Have you ever had the ‘ick’ies? Have ow do you deal with difficult people?  How do you respond when you realize you are being difficult to others?

 

God loves  us perfectly, imperfections and all!  How far along are you on the journey to do likewise?   I have a ways to go, but understanding God’s view helps.

 

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Our choices make us

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Our very lives are fashioned by choice.  First we make choices.  Then our choices make us.” — Anne FrankSignature of Anne Frank

 

When I saw this quote, I had to sigh because it is so true.  As a human being, I usually look for other reasons why my life/body/relationships/other isn’t as it should be.  But, at some point along the way, I made a choice.  That choice often led to other choices, leading me down a path I never intended to go.

 

 

We can think of those choices as building blocks.  What have you built your life on?  What kind of choices make up your foundation?  Every time we make poor choices, we are adding an unstable block.  Too many of those, and you can see the possibility for disaster.

 

Let’s use health as an example.  Every time I choose to eat something not good for me (on a consistent basis), every time I choose to sit instead of move, every time I go on a bad diet and mess up my metabolism, every time I make bad choices, my bad choices will make up who I am.  I am not saying that everyone is responsible for all their health issues.  Let me repeat that:  I am NOT saying that everyone is responsible for all their health issues.  Sometimes things happen that are outside of our control. Cancer happens; accidents happen; we get old; life takes us places we don’t want to go.  But, those things aside, our choices do effect our health.

 

We can apply this principle (sowing and reaping) to other things in our life as well.  Do we choose to be in relationships with people who are not good for us?  Do we choose to get drunk or high and not only harm our bodies but set ourselves up for even worse decisions under the influence?  Do we choose selfish desires over generosity?  This list of questions could go on for a mile or more, but the point is that our choices do make a difference – now and in the future.

 

So, now what?  I’m on this other path, and I want off!  Am I stuck?  While I may not be able to undo everything I have done by my choices, I can begin by making better choices from here on.

 

Bible

Bible (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

The first choice I recommend for all is to choose Jesus as Savior and Lord.  With that choice as a foundation, you have a lot of resources at your command.  As you seek to deepen your relationship with your Creator, you will begin to be like Him and make better choices.The second  choice I recommend is spending time in God’s Word.  Proverbs is a great place to find instruction in wise choices.  The entire Bible is a manual in both good and bad choices.

English: Jonah, as in Jonah 2:10, "And th...

English: Jonah, as in Jonah 2:10, “And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”;watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

–Jonah decided to run from the Lord’s calling.  That didn’t work out so well for him.

 

–Noah decided to obey the Lord, despite the taunts of everyone else in the world.  He lived; they died.

 

–Lot choose to pitch his tent toward Sodom and Gomorrah.  While that may have seemed a rather neutral choice, it was anything but.  His eyes were fixed on his own comfort instead of God.  This choice led to major destruction for his family and tainted the rest of his life.

 

Even when our choices seem to have no right or wrong, they send us in different directions.  It is wise to spend time in prayer before making those decisions so we don’t go in the wrong direction and live to regret it.

 

What choices have you made lately?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related articles

Longing to be Loved

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“Countless women curl up on their couches to watch the same chick flicks over and over, especially the ones in which the hero gives everything to save the girl. Like the one rescued in movies, we want to be desired, fought for — pursued. And we are.  Our Creator and King is pursuing us, but it’s so much better than the movies. He gave up His life and paid a great price to come and rescue us.” – Lynn Cowell in “Longing to be Pursued

 

How about you?  Even men often have that need to have someone want them, really want them and pursue them wholeheartedly.  We all want to be needed, to make a difference in someone’s life, to feel like we matter.  This need is often at the base of so many things we do, including “looking for love in all the wrong places.”  We spend much energy seeking that indefinable thing that lets us know we are special.

 

As the rest of this article points out, we already have someone who pursues us, loves us, thinks we’re special above all others.  This one is Jesus.  He gave His life for us and pursues us to the end, loving us through it all.

 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (John 3:16)

 

That, my friends, is a lot of love!  Have you ever doubted God’s love for you?  {If you’re human, you must say yes.}  Do you really comprehend; can you wrap your mind around, the kind of love this is?  What kind of God cares so much about a bunch of spoiled brats who seldom appreciate what He has done, is doing, will do for us?  What kind of God allows His beloved Son to go through what He did, just so that we could have a way to Him?

 

Image from Morguefile.comJesus is that white night, that hero that gave His life to protect and restore us.  When you think of yourself as the bride of Christ, try to be the kind of bride that recognizes the value of the Groom and what He did to redeem you.

A Day of Rememberance

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Today is a mixed bag of feelings for me.  I remember hearing about the twin towers and then watching television for several days with tears flowing.  I learned some things that day I’d like to share.

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1.  People will come together and help one another in crisis.

2.  People care!

3.  Some things are more important than politics and petty concerns.

4.  It does matter what you believe.

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The first two were obvious as we watched first responders and others take their life in their hands to help others.  People across the country stepped up to the plate in a big way, then and on down the road.  In fact, we still remember and honor those who died that day.  We still follow the lives of some of those who lost parts of themselves or their loved ones in that building.

The third reminds us that all those things we worry about and argue about won’t really matter if we lose our country.  We need to stop snarking at one another and come together in an effort to save this land.  Many of us are coming together on our knees.

Fourth, we are reminded that not every belief is valid.  In the USA (and I suspect elsewhere) we’ve come to the point where we want truth to mean whatever someone wants it to.  In this case, several young men believed that they were doing a service to their god by flying those planes into buildings full of people.  In fact, they willingly martyred themselves for this belief.  I believe they had a rude awakening seconds after the planes hit or went down.  How sad.

They weren’t the only ones with a rude awakening that day.  We learned how vulnerable we are.  We learned many things, good and bad, that have changed how we view the world around us.  I hope we will all choose today to remember those lessons and seek God for the restoration of our country.  These lessons were not just those of the people of the US either.  Everyone everywhere needs to learn what we learned that day.  Their life and their eternity may depend upon it.

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 What were you doing on this day?  What lessons did you learn?  How do you remember?

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Today is also my anniversary.  30 years!  I don’t know where the time goes, but I thank God that He knew better than I did who I needed and put us together.  I thank Him that He has kept us together through all the ups and downs.  I thank Him for teaching me some of those life lessons through my marriage.  I thank Him for teaching us what real love is through the hard times.  On September 11 of the tower tragedy, we did not celebrate.  We cried.   Today we celebrate the wonder of 30 years of life!

Brian’s mother (Ginny), the happy couple, My mother and father (Marilyn and Phil), and my son (Jason). My how life has changed 😀

God’s Mountain Removal Service

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Guess what?   God moves mountains! 

The mythical Mount Olympus in northern Greece....

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, that is not something new to me.  I have watched Him move immovable mountains all my life.  But to watch it happen in the life of a dear friend who is just learning to trust Him with the impossible bursts my buttons!  I am so proud of my God. I often tell people that He can be trusted with anything, and He can.  However, there’s always that wondering if He will choose to do this thing.  I always know it’s for a higher purpose if He says no, but when helping someone learn to walk by faith, it’s so good when He does something like this.

In this case, the friend had an immovable mountain, impossible by human standards, and God showed her that He had her back all along.  Even though she just received the news that the mountain was gone, it was gone for several days before she could see it.  I have never seen God late.  I have never seen Him fail His people.  I have never seen Him break a promise.  He is faithful, even when we are unfaithful.  GLORY!!!!

Remember that, to God, our mountains are like little pebbles in His hand.  When we look at life from His perspective, we see how little we needed to worry.  We see His mighty hand compared to the tiny bump and realize He’s got it.  We may live on this earth, but we are not constrained by earthly boundaries.  Our Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills, loves us with a deep, abiding, faithful, never-ending love, and has a wonderful plan for our lives.  How awesome is that?

So next time you have an immovable mountain, step back and see that your God is so much bigger than that mountain, that the mountain seems totally insignificant in comparison.  We have the power within us, through the Holy Spirit, to experience wonders beyond our imagination if we will just trust Him and let Him work in us.  I, for one, refuse to live a mediocre life.  I want to live an abundant life for Him.  It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it!!!!

Do you have a mountain that needs moving?  Have you seen God do the impossible before?  What do you think?

Our mountains from His perspective

What’s Your Beam?

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Sins of the tongue probably rate as the worst kinds of sins as far as harm to others goes.  Yet, we sit in our churches with blazing tongues, spreading hurt to all with no qualms.  While I believe homosexuality is a sin because the Bible says it is, I sometimes question the obsession with it that I see among Christians.  It’s like we’ve separated the sins into acceptable and unacceptable categories.  We have our pet sins; those go into the acceptable category.  Then we have the ones that don’t bother us as much; those go into the unacceptable category.

 

Let me tell you no sin is acceptable to God!

 

We are all sinners.  There is none righteous, no not one.  We cannot gloss over some sins and sit in our pews as holier-than-thou whited sepulchres, spewing ungodliness in our judgmentalness.  We ought to do one and not leave the other undone.  We should worry about sin – all sin – our own sin first.

 

The Bible tells us to take the beam out of our own eye first.  Then we will be able to see clearly to help others remove the speck in their eyes.  As long as we have these sins that we cling to and justify and ignore as ‘not so bad’, we will be unable to help others with their sin.  This is the problem when it comes to speaking out against sin.  We do not have the right to do so until we have cleaned up our own back yard.  I am not saying we shouldn’t speak out.  I’m saying we should clean up that beam and then speak out, when we have the right and the ability to help others in the same mess we found ourselves in.

 

We have the answer:  Jesus Christ.  But we besmirch His name when we excuse sin in our own lives while condemning others for theirs.  I have been asking God for over a year to show me the truth about these matters.  He is slowly but surely moving me into His will as He teaches me how to walk with Him and how to know Him as He truly is.  This is a difficult concept for most Christians,  but it is difficult in its very simplicity.  The same is true of salvation.  It is simple, and yet we make it hard.

 

So what beams do you have in your eyes, keeping you from seeing clearly? 

 

In this series, we will talk about the beams we can have and what they look like.  Tune in for more. . . .

 

 

It starts with words, but it doesn’t end there

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“Well done is better than well said.”

 “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

“Talk is cheap.”

~*~*~

However you say it,

words without action mean nothing;

intentions without follow through mean nothing;

promises without promise keepers mean nothing.

Words are easy; actions are hard.

Say it — Do it — Be it!

~*~*~

Communication begins with words.

It does not end there.

Communication with only words seldom communicates anything,

especially if the words do not match the actions.

At least, it seldom communicates what the speaker hoped.

~*~*~

When we stand behind our words:

Others hear that we mean what we say.

Others hear that we have integrity.

Others hear that this person is trustworthy.

Others hear the intent of the heart,

because it has not been divorced from right action.

~*~*~

God wants us to stand behind our words to Him.

He always stands beside His to us.

Don’t say, “I love You.” when you don’t obey.

Don’t say, “I love Your Word.” when you don’t read it.

Don’t say, “I love Your people.”  when you don’t show compassion.

Don’t say, “I trust You.” when you continue to doubt.

~*~*~

Words

Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

The words you speak my reflect what is in your heart,   But the actions you take prove what is in your heart.

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