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Wednesday, August 26 2015

Dear Friends…

Loving in the midst of trials is not easy. There is a saying, “hurt people hurt others.” And the hurt is even harder to take when it’s ‘friendly fire’, coming from those who are closest to us. If we are not careful these hurt feelings can lead to broken relationships. During the trials, do your best to keep perspective and work to maintain the meaningful relationships. Here are some tips that will help:

  1. Breathe deep and take slow measured breathes. It may sound silly, but it’s a simple, effective tool. God is the ‘breathe of life’, so as you breathe you are breathing in life, which will help you calm down and help you ward off reacting.
  2. Act instead of react. Think before you act or speak. Often in crisis or when we’ve been hurt we have ‘knee jerk reactions’ and say or do things we later regret. Be aware of your thoughts, consciously decide how you will share and stay in the moment.
  3. Practice empathy. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself, “why would this person be acting the way they are? What have they been going through lately that might contribute to this action or reaction?” Often what just happened is not really about you, but more about what is troubling them.
  4. Ask questions and then truly listen. Take a ‘time out’, say a quick prayer and check your own emotions and allow yourself time to calm down. Then reach out in kindness and concern. For example: “Why did you feel a need to yell at me that way?” “What is really upsetting you? “ “Could you explain to me more, without yelling or calling me names, what is troubling you?”
  5. Speak your truth in love. When you share how you feel and what you think, do so with respect, honesty, no name-calling and in a manner that is not defensive or aggressive. Here’s the standard counselor’s tip: Begin sentences with: “I feel ______, when you said _____”. Other examples: “Can I share with you what I think/feel about what just happened?” or “I have a request…” or “I think what you mean is _______, am I correct?” 

Also remember that when we’ve been hurt or times are tough in our relationships, Jesus still stands. He is the Prince of peace. He has a way through every storm and He is our rock. Our part is to cling to Him, allow Him to be part of the process, ask for what we need, and trust that He is leading and guiding. Don’t block His ability to intervene with how we respond.

Let’s not forget that sin does have consequences. And just because someone is sinning against us, does not give us license to give it back. This is a time to offer grace and mercy. Not to start a battle of will and wits.

Be part of the solution, by receiving grace from God and liberally giving grace away, especially in times of troubles and trials. His sacrificial love given to us and then flowing to others will transform hearts and change situations. Give it a try. It’s not always easy, but the payoff is tremendous!

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen… Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32


Posted by: Angel H Davis AT 07:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

Benefits of Weariness


WOW! How weary I am. And so are many of you. I know because I hear your cries: in my office, on the phone, online, in church, at the grocery store, you name it! So much of what I hear from people today is about how tired, weary, and worn-out they feel.

Then again, you may not feel weary;  instead you may feel anxious, depressed, scared, lonely, angry, or any mixture of these emotions. Perhaps these are more your prominent feelings.


However you may feel, it’s too easy to look for the source or to find blame: social media; busy schedules; technology; work/family demands; the causes are endless. Of course, these have validity, and we can certainly manage them in more appropriate and successful ways.


Yet, as I sit with God today, in my quiet time, and look over my journals, what I see is the benefit of weariness—the benefit of our broken feelings and situations.

 I see, time and time again, over the years (yes, I am rebellious and slow-learning, and God is very, very patient), God working in me and through me, enabling me to receive His antidote to this tough life and all of its problems. 


It is so simple; and yet it is so hard.


It is HIM: Jesus; always more of Him.


“But,” you say, “Angel, I have to know what to do with my children,” or, “Angel, these bills are piling up,” or, “Angel, you don’t have a CLUE of how bad it really is.”


And I will say, “You are right, I don’t. And you are correct, these things need to be taken care of.” 


BUT FIRST, we have a larger need. Oh, the catch is it doesn’t appear like the larger need. Our core need, before bills, children, purpose in life, change in our feelings, is to be convinced, truly convinced and accepting of God’s love for us and our identity as His children.


And your heart and head may rebel like mine did.


“BUT, I need to know the answer to my problem.” 

And Jesus says:

“I am the answer.”

“I am so tired.”

And Jesus says:

“I know. Let me restore you.”

“I am afraid.”

And Jesus says:

“I know, and my love will take care of that.”


That just doesn’t seem like much; doesn’t seem like enough, when we are about to be evicted or our kids are in harm’s way. That support just doesn’t seem practical enough for our human brains to rest on.


Perhaps then we’ve hit on the real source or problem of our weariness: ourselves. You and me believing that if we work hard enough, try enough, worry enough, take enough time to figure it out, talk enough to that person, ignore it long enough—whatever your “enough” is—WE can fix it. The true problem is that it’s all about US!


We want to stay in the driver’s seat and be our own savior. Or we look to other humans to be that for us. If we believe our answer lies in us or other humans, we are likely to stay in that “out of control” anxious space, and the weariness or depression or addictions are bound to take over. There can only be one driver in our car of life.


The benefit of our struggle is to be wooed into the true solution. Life’s struggles are an invitation to know God more intimately. As we allow Jesus, who is ALIVE, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, to become more real for us, more tangible, as we take Him at His word (Hebrews 13:5), as we choose to focus on Him and His promises, instead of the problems or feelings we are having, then we start to experience the reality of His presence with us.  With this, we begin to experience the peace He promises.

Why? Because our problems have been solved? The bills have all been paid? The feelings change?

NO…  peace comes from HIS presence. And in that place of peace we can see clearer, hear more accurately, and receive wisdom and direction.


As we “bend our knee” to Jesus’ love, dare to take Him at His word (John 3:16), choose to look to Him and depend on Him, and keep (John 17) depending on Him, then His life-blood starts to flow through us. It revives us, directs us, and transforms our thinking and feelings. Then life and all of its troubles, which are many (John 16:33), become manageable, doable.


Breath comes; rest comes; peace comes.


In this place new life springs forth. New ideas emerge and joy is eventually restored.


Struggling today? Rejoice in it, because it is calling you back home. Home to His heart of love (Romans 8:38-39), the place of true peace and rest. 

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