Tag Archives: Conflict

Which invitation will you say yes to?

Standard

Lately, the Lord has been revealing to me how each interaction and set of circumstances is simply an invitation. I get invited to be offended. I get invited to love in the midst of adversity. I get invited to be afraid. I get invited to trust God. I get invited to join in celebrated. I get invited to feel alone. I get invited to love. I get invited to hate. I get invited to life. I get invited to death.

So, as a result of this sort of simplistic yet powerful revelation, I have found myself more often than not, evaluating what I am being invited to. When I see that the invitation is to engage in a hate filled, death breeding word battle- I am starting to be empowered to simply RSVP not attending.   When I recognize I am being invited to be stretched beyond my self-imposed limits and all my senses are screaming YOU ARE GOING TO FAIL- I, timidly, RSVP that yes I choose to attend. When I recognize I have two invitations in the same set of circumstances, I am trying to be intentional on choosing the one which leads to life.

Let’s dig deeper into  this life and death talk. Life-giving thoughts are thoughts that agree with the heart of God towards you and/or others. Our thoughts eventually become our words, and our words usually become our actions. Death breeding thoughts are any thoughts that are less than or against what God says about you or others. What we come into agreement with eventually we bring into our reality.

Matthew 12:34-35New International Version (NIV)

34 …….. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.

Ephesians 4:29New King James Version (NKJV)

29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Proverbs 18:21New King James Version (NKJV)

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Agreeing with God- through believing He is who He says He is- and can do what He says He can do, brings life. Anything less than that- truly brings a slow, miserable death. Kind of harsh- or just kind of simple? Perhaps both- you get to decide.

So when I am invited to justify my emotional decisions- and stay stuck in that destructive cycle- I know now that I am empowered to simply state that I will not come to that party. I can choose instead to RSVP yes to take responsibility for my decisions and seek out the Lord’s best for my life, find out his constructive cycle and then begin intentionally living that out. When I am invited to have an opinion about an organization or another individual based on my limited understanding or personal perspective, I can choose to say no to that invitation and instead choose to seek the Lord and ask for His thoughts on that person or organization and choose to agree with His heart.

Most recently, both of my children have been very ill. I have had MANY invitations to feel overwhelmed, stressed out, and completely unfit for the tasks before me. Sure, maybe the first few days I had a great attitude and a can-do spirit, but by day five and six, when the symptoms had reached their height and I was exhausted and felt like I was somehow failing them-I recognized that those thoughts were an invitation to be distracted from doing the task I was entrusted with and I RSVP’d NO! I chose instead to reach out and ask others to encourage me and pray for me so I could be enabled, by His strength and power and Spirit, to continue on.

I feel this message is for more than just me- and in my totally exhausted state I fear I may not have articulated it as well as I would have liked- I pray that somehow the Lord uses these words to challenge you, and to continue challenging me, to consider where we are allowing ourselves to go, and on the flip side- where are we inviting others?

Advertisements

Love and be loved=Success

Standard

Trying to follow Jesus on this Earth proves not to be a task which entails comfort or instant gratification. Quite the opposite. It is a long journey, a process, of strengthening and endurance. It is filled with opportunities to make high quality decisions based on faith in who God is, or to reveal your unbelief and then be built up in that place by His power to be able to move forward with a firmer foundation. There are many times when you step out in a direction and the point of that journey wasn’t at all why you began- but something deeper. Our constant misunderstanding of what God is up to- is the very reason we are called not to lean on our understanding- but instead to TRUST. It is TRUE what the Word says- His ways are ALWAYS higher than our ways- and yet we seek to understand with our finite minds this incredible INFINITE God. Our lack of understanding doesn’t have to stand in our way- if we let go and lay down our need to understand, and we can only do that as we begin to enjoy and rest in the fullness of His great love for us, to move in the broad place of freedom and hope and joy and protection that is only found in intimate relationship with this With-US God whom we can know and love and not have to understand.

Recently I have been learning about how when the devil tempted Jesus- he tried to get Jesus to forget He was loved by the Father. I am coming to see, in my own life, every temptation I face- there is a moment of amnesia about the great love the Father has lavished upon me- I am found lacking in my own strength, my own wisdom, hope- there is actually nothing but lack when I take God out of my equation. If I choose to make decisions in fear and hopelessness and the urgency found in both of those states- I will never be making quality, forward moving, destructive-cycle breaking decisions. Instead, most likely, I will making destructive, pain-birthing, selfish decisions that will not only delay my becoming but could also hurt others.

So what is the disconnect? How can someone be moving fully in the love and liberty of being loved by God in one moment- and in another be in such despair that you can’t find one reason any of this life stuff is worth it? I believe the truth lies in the fact that our enemy comes to steal, kill, or destroy everything that God wants to give us. Our attack will always be directly aimed at what God is doing. The first lie you have to believe is that you are on your own- and in most cases in my experience this comes subtly from a person in your life and their message sounds like wisdom- except that they do not include God in their expectation of who they think you should be. If we begin to mediate on a message of perceived failure in ourselves that was communicated from someone who only values and see success as far as they can see on this earth- and you have been busy investing in the Kingdom of God- in eternal riches- you will begin to see yourself as foolish- a loser, a failure- this is often the first lie I believe when I begin to forget who God says I am.

Truly that is the hope of the enemy- to take our God-given IN CHRIST identity.Our enemy knows that when we take Jesus out of the equation we will find it near impossible to love ourselves. You see Jesus taught us that there are only two commandments we must follow- to love the Lord with all of ourselves- and then to love others as we love ourselves. HMMMM- how many do you know that love themselves, treat themselves with the value and worth that God says they possess? The core hope of any attack from the enemy is to get us to hate ourselves, whether we realize it and can articulate it or not- our actions, beliefs, interactions, and perspectives will show this. If we hate ourselves- we deny ourselves from being able to receive the full measure of God’s goodness and love towards us- and then we are depleted in our love tank- it is impossible to love others.

So let me share something that was absolutely solidified in my life this week. Here is what doesn’t matter- other’s opinions of you. The essence of who you are is NOT defined by the amount of dollars in your bank account. The outcome of your life will not be how big your house was, what car your drove ( or if you even had a car). You aren’t defined by how right you were all the time or if your proverbial ducks were always in a row. The summation of our lives in the end is- did you learn to love? Did you freely receive and freely give love? That is all we are called to do. When we are loving, regardless of our circumstance, we are in the absolute will of God for our lives. Loving others, sowing into their lives, believing in them, praying for them, celebrating with them, supporting them, is investing in a eternal portfolio and the return on investment is greater than anything we can imagine. Choosing to follow Jesus- to seek out His will for your life- to rest in Him and not trust in the sweat of your own brow- is never foolish.  Even when you don’t land where you thought He was calling you- you are always going to land in Him- and that is success.

I AM HERE TO TELL YOU TODAY- don’t quit because the direction has changed. Don’t buy the lie that you are foolish because God has a surprise for you. Don’t judge your worth by the approval or disapproval of others. Get in close to your Father- rest in Him, and ask Him to remind you who He says you are. Ask Him to show you any lie you are coming into agreement with. Ask Him to help you in your unbelief. HE IS YOUR PORTION-and He is more than enough! Lay down your need to understand and be positioned to receive His love- and then organically allow it to overflow out of you onto others. Just be loved and love- (which is what happens when we seek FIRST the Kingdom of God) and all things will be added unto you!

Aside

So conflict- it can be a beautiful thing when surrendered to God and genuinely handled with love. However, not matter who you are, if conflict arises between you and another, and you choose to look at yourself or others without having/keeping love on- you are opening yourself and the relationship up to an onslaught of attack from our enemy.

Any area in our hearts that is left wounded and untended to will ultimately be exposed when any conflict arises and even gets close to that old wound. The messages of lies that cause those wounds to remain get louder and the new conflict chimes in perfect harmony with all those old messages.

If somewhere inside of you, there is a lie that says you are too much and no one could ever really handle to real you- and someone says gently and kindly, “Hey, how you said that things kind of rubbed me the wrong way,” you will hear- I can’t handle the way you are and you should be different than how you really are.

I could go on and on and on with examples, but here is the truth. We are all in process and NONE OF US have the ability to get it right 100% of the time. We need to extend grace, and hope that when it’s our turn, grace will be extended to us. We all have old wounds, and conflict can be God’s way of bringing that thing to your attention and showing you that now is the time to begin to work through those lies and find out what God says is true about you in that place. We then can replace the lie, with a scripture, and then when the attack comes back, we say “NO! That is not true! God says…..” This is a simple, extremely effective and powerful way to combat the lied of the enemy.

Here is the scripture the Lord gave me recently in the midst of conflict that I was overreacting to because of my wounded places- I could tell there was more pain, more reaction, more yuck than needed, and I knew that I needed healing- but in the moment I could not find that place- I cried out to the Lord and He gave me this word: 

Colossians 3:15

Amplified Bible (AMP)

15 And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

WOW! Applying this truth changed my entire state- my whole atmosphere. Let me break it down how He shared it with me. 

1) Peace is to UMPIRE your heart when any questions arise.

     I knew I was currently not in peace, and that I could not come up with any conclusions about any truth about myself until I reentered a peaceful state.

2) To get there, be thankful, appreciative, and begin giving praise to God.

      I would not be able to enter into a peaceful state, to begin to draw true conclusions until I took the magnifying glass off of my conflict and it’s pain, and chose to magnify God and how AWESOME AND MIGHTY He is!  I began thanking Him for who He is, and all He has done, and out of that- praise was a natural progression. I spent time worshipping Him with my voice, and my mind slowed, and I was able to see from His perspective and recognize those lies that were trying to reattach themselves to my identity were just that, lies. I was able to trust that what God has said is truer than anything I was currently feeling, and I could respond in love out of the place of remembering how loved I am.

Furthermore, through this loving conflict, the Lord has brought to light a few areas I need to be allowing Him to prune off of me. He has given me a few new strategies to protect relationships and shown me some false protections I have been trusting in which is actually hurting me. This conflict, although seemingly came out of nowhere, has been incredibly fruitful and I know the fruit I can see is only the beginning.

So, I urge you today to love others enough to choose not to side step conflict when it needs to happen. Love them enough to be real with them when their actions hurt you, or perhaps seem contrary to their witness. Conflict is not something to be avoided so we can all live in false harmony, love actually says, “Hey, this seem off.” Pray before hand for the Lord to prepare both of your hearts and that nothing spoken gets miscommunicated and that if in your heart there is any motivation other than love, that He would first deal with you and bring your spirit into perfect alignment with His. And then seek Him for the timing and wait upon Him trusting that He is working it all out.

Consider this- the Lord has never and will never do anything out of any motivation other than love- He is love- He is constant- and He is for you. He will never lead you astray! You can TRUST HIM!

 

Slow to Anger

Standard

Have you ever been blindsided? Thinking everything is fine, all is well, and then someone comes at you and has a bone to pick with you? Their feelings are real, they are truly hurt by what they have perceived and want to get it off of their chest. But you, you aren’t prepared because you had no idea that anything was the matter. How will you respond?

Unfortunately, this has been happening in my life quite frequently as of late, and I believe if I do not change my initial response, I may just have to go around this mountain for 40 years. I am learning quite a bit by my reaction, and the Lord is teaching me so much through these experiences and I thought I could share with you.

Here goes: 

When I am hearing from another person about how my actions have hurt or offended or upset them- my job is still to love. They are one of God’s precious children and deserve to be treated with respect and honor in every state, no matter what. What does my flesh want to do? It wants to protect me. I begin thinking quickly and in small circles of how I can defend myself from their offense and stop listening. I am then quick to speak and none of it sounds anything close to love because it is all about being right, all about self- protection. Love is actually no where on my radar because hurt, what that person was trying to communicate in the first place, is beginning to dictate. Now we go on the crazy cycle. You were offended and by sharing it with me, I get offended, and then I try to preserve and protect myself, now I am speaking out of my offense, and they get even more offended and begin to respond out of their now heightened level of offense. And from there, it just gets uglier and uglier and uglier until someone jumps off the crazy cycle and remembers about this amazing force called LOVE.

How can I choose Love to begin with? This is what I am learning. I am learning to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to anger. I am learning to LISTEN. That means hearing out the heart of the situation, and trust me when you are “feeling” attacked, that is not easy. But what part of being a true Christ-follower is easy? Listen to the heart, while asking the Lord to help you hear the truth, help you to see them with the stamp, “Loved, Valued, Cherished Child of God,” on their forehead. Asking the Lord to help you respond with words that articulate value and honor to them, letting them know they have been heard. Instead of allowing conflict to destroy, I am learning that the Lord can use conflict to build up and heal.

Conflict is going to happen, and the enemy loves to bring this into your atmosphere when you are vulnerable. You are vulnerable in seasons where you are physically exhausted, mentally drained, or overwhelmed and stretched in many directions at once. He loves to kick you while you are down. Funny thing about our call to love though, it is not null and void when we are not on our A game, there is no clause saying except when you don’t feel like it. No, we are called to love God and love others always. 

So here is what I am learning. This season of my life is one of much change, much new, and a lot of learning that I need to do in order to step into my next season, and there is a deadline of sorts on my horizon, which creates a bit of pressure. This is a season where I am vulnerable and easily overwhelmed. This equation of course means my enemy wants to swamp my boat, but simultaneously God is growing me and teaching me and strengthening my resolve. Praise God!

I am learning that now, more than ever, my quiet time with the Lord is imperative to me remaining in love. I am learning to pray ahead of time that in every circumstance, especially the unexpected ones, my first response would be love. I am asking ahead of time that supernaturally the Lord would cause me to be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen. 

I’ve been contemplating how Jesus would look upon them, love them, and then He would respond. I am asking Him to help me follow His lead. Will you join me? We could change our world with this kind of love, respect, and honor!!!!!!!!!! 

Lord, Thank You that everything our enemy intends for evil, You turn around for good. Thank You for revealing the cracks in my foundation and for showing me where I need to be strengthened. Lord, I admit my utter dependence upon you, I need you now more than ever before. Help me to supernaturally be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen. I trust You with my relationships and my response. Prepare me, use me, and bless everyone involved. I ask these things in the Mighty Name of Jesus, Amen!!!!!!

Mark 10:21 AMP

21 And Jesus, looking upon him, loved him, and He said to him…..

James 1:19 AMP

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry