We all know people who have prickly parts & weaknesses. But oftentimes, what is a persons weak area, or what can make them prickly is exactly what is their strength, gift or talent. For example, I have a friend who is abundantly compassionate & kind. She can also get cranky when she is overextended or frustrated from not being to help. Some people think that she’s just downright cranky & they don’t take the time or effort to peel back the gruff veneer to see or hear the tender interior.
No matter if a person is prickly or cranky, let’s endeavor to look for the good & accentuate their strengths 🙂
Edgy, sharp, cranky, churlish, frustrated. These adjectives can describe us at various times. Maybe you’re short on sleep. Maybe you’re stressed about money. Maybe you have a conflict with your spouse or friend. Maybe there’s a lot of pressure at work or school. Regardless of the reason, let’s be careful about our words & attitudes in these challenging times.
Here are some helpful ideas to keep our attitudes, actions & words seasoned with grace:
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you
Chose self control over reactionary behavior
Take a 30second pause & look for stuff to be grateful for
Remember that we often prefer the consequences of grace rather than the outcomes of expressing frustration or crankiness 🙂
I’m in Bangledesh at the moment, just beginning to explore the situation with the Rohingya, Muslim refugees who have very recently fled Burma to survive significant atrocities & even death. There are likely close to 700,000 Rohingya now in Bangledesh, living under plastic tarps & trying to make the best of a deplorable situation.
Admirable credit goes to the Bangledesh people for being gracious & generous with these displaced people. Everyone is trying to bring some good out of an horrific situation.
Here are some fundamental principles that are useful regardless of the atrocities:
Forgiveness isn’t optional – keep your heart poison free
Look for the positive
Keep your hearts tender to Jesus’ input.
These pictures show some beautiful people & the gorgeous countryside here.
I️ don’t like slow, not in the least, so I’m always looking for ways to go faster & achieve more. But I️ find an internal conflict with the speed / achievement thing contrasting with my insatiable appetite for being close & intimate with God. I️ sense that for me, the desire to go fast & achieve heaps can be in direct competition with my passion to know Jesus better & walk with Him in increasing intimacy. So if I️ have to chose between speed / achievements or intimacy w Jesus, I’m choosing to be close to Jesus, even when that means that I️ need to slow down.
Practically speaking, this means that in my morning Bible time, I️ won’t be rushing to the next chapter, trying to read large quantities of content nor doing a daily plan for content optimization. It also means that my prayer time will be more about lingering & listening rather than talking & requesting.
Feel free to join the slow down adventure with me 😉
There are lots of things that can be difficult: being consistent with exercise, missions trips, hostile or dicey conversations, regulating ones eating habits & lots more. I don’t like to do tough stuff, nor did Jesus. I say this because of His words in Gethsemane, “If possible, please take this cup from Me.”
So how do we go about doing tough stuff? Here are a few suggestions & I’d be keen to get your ideas in the comments as well!
Keep the end goal in mind: what is your desired outcome?
Be wholly present in the difficulty because often these struggles need our whole attention, energy & talents
Pray: divine help is always an upgrade!
Surrender to God’s will even when it conflicts with your desires 🙂
Hard circumstances, unknown terrain, impossible journeys – these are all things in which God specializes. As you read this, maybe you’re in a financial crisis & Christmas looks impossible; maybe you’ve received a medical report that’s disturbing; maybe you have some toxic relational challenges that seem to be never ending; maybe you’re discouraged or depressed; maybe you have some work or school difficulties that are bigger than your abilities, time or energy.
Be encouraged today, that God can make a way when there seems to be no way. Remind yourself of how God delivered the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt:
providing a leader, Moses, who was educated & committed to their freedom
supernatural signs & wonders (10 Plagues) to break the slavery bondage
Passover to establish the relationship between God & the nation of Israel
plundering the Egyptians when the Israelites walked out of Egypt
split the Red Sea & drowning the enemies who were intent on dragging the Israelites back into slavery
God did lots more when He liberated the Israelites, so be encouraged that you’re not in a situation that exceeds God’s ability to transform nor redeem! Feel free to share this with your friends to encouage them as well!
“I am Joseph, your brother.” I’ve been reading the story of Joseph in the last part of Genesis & I’m always astounded by the events that led up to these words. There are so many ways this story could’ve taken a bad turn.
Joseph could’ve let bitterness settle into his heart & he could’ve cruelly repaid his brothers for their malevolence.
Joseph’s dad could’ve died before learning that his son was alive & highly successful.
Joseph’s brothers could’ve continued to be the jerks they were with him when they sold him into slavery.
But none of these things happened & when Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers, he was fully committed to keeping his family alive & healthy, redeeming his family in a time of famine & desolation.
Let’s follow Joseph’s example in our daily living & relationships – committed to being agents of redemption, even when others may not recognize the redemption.
Stuff I’m good at, I prefer to do. Stuff I’m bad at, not so much. But life requires us to do stuff that’s both difficult & easy. When you find stuff that you’re good at, generally you like to keep doing it & it can be very fulfilling. In contrast, doing stuff you’re not good at can be draining & frustrating.
I say this having just filled out some rather meticulous paperwork that I hope I did right. Suffice it to say that paperwork isn’t so much in my wheelhouse. So the less I do, the better it is for everyone 🙂
But here’s the real deal: my weaknesses provide platform for the Holy Spirit to help & be strong through me. The tricky part for me is to acknowledge that I need Help – not just professional help, but even better, Divine Help! Be sure to grab a copy of my latest book to see how you can walk with Divine Help!
I’ve been noticing a trend with mobile services. For example, we recently had a guy come to our house with his mobile workshop to service our bikes. And this morning, I saw a mobile beauty salon – amazing!
This made me think about how wonderful the Holy Spirit is, to be with us everywhere we go – Mobile Help!! I’m abundantly grateful for the Holy Spirit being my ever present help with divine wisdom, supernatural strength, limitless comfort & continual presence – way better than the mobile food trucks, beauty salon & bike repair!
I seriously want your feedback!! Every Christmas season, I do a blog series about looking for Jesus & I post goofy pictures of baby Jesus in various settings, to reinforce the reminder to look for Jesus in the busy-ness of the Holidays.
So where would you like to see Jesus in the upcoming Holidays? Please give me your suggestions in the comments below, on FB, twitter, etc. Last year, I took Jesus to the ICU at a local hospital, He drove with me in my car (Jesus take the wheel), I perched Him on a park bench & did lots of other creative things. So what would you suggest for me to do this year, in the theme of looking for Jesus?
It’s easy to be a spectator, watching from the sideline, making comments & suggestions. It’s an entirely different experience to participate rather than spectate. This principle rings true in all kinds of contexts:
attending church in contrast to being an active participant,
watching people struggle with problems in contrast to helping people with prayer & presence,
only reading the Bible rather than applying what the Bible says.
Let’s never forget that God put skin in the game for humanity by letting Jesus become God in the flesh. So let’s be sure that we continue to imitate Jesus in our daily living by being active conduits for God’s presence wherever we go & in whatever we do!
Today, I had a conflict with a TSA agent, on my journey to California. I’d like to give him a piece of my mind & I still find myself rather cranky with the people around me, as residual fallout from the interaction with the TSA dude. This is troubling to me because it shows me that there’s stuff inside me that’s not pretty. So even if I wear nice clothes, fix my hair, accessorize & beautify with makeup, there’s still ugly on the inside.
The Ugly inside me includes impatience, unforgiveness, pride, . . . .
So I’m choosing to let the Holy Spirit confront me as I wait in this long line & I’m confident that things will get better in my thoughts, attitudes & conversations. Surrendering to the Holy Spirit is the way my flesh gets deflated & genuine love gets energized 🙂
be sure to grab my best book, In Step with the Spirit! It’s really helpful in the daily walk with the Hrlper!
Have an awesome weekend!
Some people think that duct tape is the solution to everything broken. Other folk prefer super glue, windex, scotch tape or maybe twine. But a heart that is hurt or broken isn’t comforted nor healed by such “helpful hints from Heloise” so to speak.
The first step to being whole hearted & having a healthy heart is to consider if & what could be broken or dysfunctional. I don’t see how we can do that without letting the Holy Spirit talk to us about various challenges, struggles & behaviors. These conversations with the Holy Spirit aren’t easy, but it’s step one to living a whole hearted life.
Another helpful step after starting these conversations is to let the Holy Spirit have access to the bruises, painful memories & the compensatory actions that stem from the brokenness & dysfunction. Let the Holy Spirit have ongoing access so that you can complete healing & live a whole hearted life!
Consider that the Holy Spirit is our best friend on the journey of whole hearted living 🙂
Since we are really close to Halloween, that means that Thanksgiving is fast approaching. So let’s get an early jump on being thankful. By starting to practice gratitude now, we’ll be certain to have maximum proficiency by the time Thanksgiving lands. Another benefit to practicing gratitude now is that we increase our chances of creating a lifestyle of thanksgiving rather than the seasonal experience. Finally, the Bible tells us to be thankful, not only for the obvious & good stuff, but also for things that are difficult. Let’s be sure to practice Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God
Jesus left a crowd of people where He was appreciated and valued so He could help a raving lunatic. In Mark 5:1-20, we read about a man who was completely undone and thoroughly tormented by loads of demons. He was demon possessed and was living a very tortured, painful and isolated life. When he was described in these verses, I was deeply moved by his tragic existence. He would roam the tombs & mountains with no human contact, gashing himself, screaming and unclothed with no hope of reprieve or help – until Jesus came.
When we come across people in our lives who are broken, hurting, dysfunctional, crazy, hostile, erratic and even barbaric, let’s be willing to see past these descriptions and difficulties to see a human in need of love and redemption. Let’s remember that the enemy of humanity is seeking to torture, deceive and destroy humans in any way possible. On the other side, Jesus wants to work through us to bring love, healing and redemption! Let’s make sure we stay on Jesus’ side 🙂
What’s a yucky appointment? Anything that you don’t look forward to & this can be appointments for car repair, a performance review at work, conversation with your child’s teacher, a medical procedure, etc. Unfortunately, we all have yucky appointments that are unavoidable.
So here are some helpful ideas:
Pray: remember that the Holy Spirit is with you all the time which includes the yucky appointments
Wise Choices: yucky appointments can be the feeding frenzy for worry & fear. Decide to chose peace rather than worry & love over fear
Deep Breath: this is always a good physical reset to release tension
Trust God: it always helps me to remember that as I stay in love with Jesus & true to His purposes to me, that God causes all things to work together for my good – Rom 8:28-29
I’ve come to realize that the stuff God asks me to do requires God’s help. Whenever I try to do God’s assignments without God’s help, I fall short. In this learning adventure, I’m also realizing that when I say, “I can’t”, it’s usually rooted in, “I won’t”. The difference between can’t & won’t relates to both ability & willingness.
So when God asks us to do something that we lack the ability to accomplish, let’s be careful not to be unwilling. The right answer to God is, “With Your help, I’m willing & I’ll try!” Let’s have a willing heart to walk in the Spirit!
As technology improves, I find myself becoming increasingly impatient. It I think about using a modem to connect to the web, it brings back the memories of that static sound before the connection tone. And then I think about the phones we used & how I’d stretch the cord too far & rip it off the wall. And rotary phones, well, that’s like the ultimate triceratops dinosaur!
So maybe your walk with the Holy Spirit could use some renovation & even upgrades! Please pop over to Amazon & buy new new book,
Do you have any bad things in your life? Of course that’s a stupid question. Everybody has bad stuff, little, big, occasionally & hopefully not continuous. As much as I want to avoid the bad stuff, it’s still there. So what to do?
Here are some ideas about what to do with bad stuff:
Pray – let’s not assume that prayer with bad stuff is a given. Praying is a resource that strengthens us, can change the bad stuff & even change us
Focal Point – what gains our attention usually gets magnified in our lives. So keeping Jesus scoped as our focal point helps us to keep perspective
Outcome possibilities – in Paul’s epistles & various places in the NT, we frequently read that hardship & bad stuff is often the pathway to really great things like lasting glory, perseverance / endurance, maturity, fruitfulness, (2Cor 4:17, James 1:4, Gal 6:9, Rom 8:17-18)
Bad may come & even linger but it will pass. Let’s chose to celebrate the faithfulness, provision, strength & presence of Jesus, even when we’re in a bad stuff season 🙂
I think we all have friends that fit into one of these categories. The “poof friends” seem to vanish when there’s work, adversity or discomfort. When everything is smoothy groovy, these poof friends are easily found, but they go “poof” when things get shaky. The “puff friends” are the ones that talk a lot, but lack substance, don’t follow through & neglect to keep their word. They huff & puff, but there’s little, of anything tangible to their puff.
The best friends are the proof friends. These are the ones who prove, with regularity, that they’re in the trenches with you, even in the muck & they don’t evaporate.
We all have people in our lives who are poof, puff & proof friends. But the real issue is what kind of friend are you? When I was growing up, the friend advice my parents always gave me was to be the kind of friend whom I wanted. So let’s endeavor to be the proof friend & not the puff. Or poof friend 🙂
And let’s keep Proverbs 18:24 front & center in our thinking: “There are “friends” who destroy each other,
but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”