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70 x 7 – Forgive them.

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It’s inevitable in life that we are going to be hurt at some point. Whether intentionally or not, it happens.  It starts out at a young age, maybe someone on the Kindergarten playground wouldn’t share.  After some tears and a talk with your teacher, sorries were exchanged and you probably continued playing without a grudge.  If only that were the case as a grown up!

Kids are much more resilient and forgiving than we are as adults. In some cases, you may get hurt over and over and over again by the same person.  How do we presently handle these situations?  How should we handle them?  Do we fight back knowing that they won’t listen to our words anyway?  Do we plea with them to hear our side of the story?  Do we update our Facebook status vocalizing our side for the world to see, just to have some validation from somebody?

I’m starting to learn how to handle these things with God’s grace.  It is hard.  It is so incredibly hard.  And sometimes I fail at it.  When people attack you or your loved ones, who wouldn’t want to fight back!  Sometimes  I hit reply faster than my hands can type.   Why should I allow lies to be spread?  I should say something!  I should fight back!  They don’t even know us!  Let’s end the rumors, tell our side!

I should…. lower myself to their level?

For who? To continue fighting back and forth with somebody that doesn’t understand is almost as bad as them spreading lies to begin with.  It’s fueling the fire.  The fire that you need to put out.  If you don’t, you’ll never feel at peace.

The thing is, people are always going to be there to remind you of mistakes that you made in your past. True or false, some people love to bring these things all back up to the surface.  It’s hard sometimes to be reminded of the hurt and pain.  Regardless, you still need to forgive them.   If not for them, for God and for yourself.

As hard as it may be, you hold your head up high, bite your tongue, and let them believe what they wish. It was never between you and them anyway. It’s always been and always will be between you and the Lord.  Put up your shield and repel their hateful words and thoughts.

Matthew 18:21-22 says, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven!”

That’s a lot of forgiveness. That’s a lot of pride and ego set aside.  That’s a lot of letting go of hurt without validation.  But, it’s possible.  If Jesus can forgive all of those who have sinned against Him, we can forgive those who sin against us.  It’s hard.  So very difficult to do.  But, the good news is we are not alone.  God is with us every step of the way and He knows the truth.  When you hit your knees and you cannot take any more of their painful words, look up.  He’ll hold you and help you back up to your feet.

Get back up, dust yourself off.  Look up, forgive them, forgive yourself, let it go and keep moving forward!

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

– Lewis B Smedes

Blog · facebook · God · Life · live · love · new · religion · write

Stop the Scrolling. Look Up!

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Do you ever get caught up scrolling through Facebook, checking out everyone’s posts, seeing how much better their day is compared to yours?  Ever wonder why you didn’t choose a life where you didn’t have to work and could stay home with the kids all day? Or, ever wish you stuck by your original career goals and followed the path of becoming a doctor, lawyer, or whatever it was that made you ready to conquer the world?  Maybe you think to yourself, “my Lord, that person is so happy every day, all the time!  They have such a perfect life.  Why can’t I be like that?”

I know I have caught myself doing this on occasion.  I have worked full-time, 40+ hours a week since I was 19.  While I know for a fact that I did not take an easy path in life,  I’ve still always felt a sense of pride in my accomplishments.  I love my children and my family, but staying home all day just was not something I wanted to do.  I wanted to keep growing in my career, all while being a hands on mama.  This balance fed my soul.   Life was good!

But, all of a sudden I was hit in the face with social media and a big ol’ can of envy.

I’ve never been jealous or envious, so what’s the deal?  Why was I longing to be somebody else?  Why was I regretting my choices and second guessing the way I raise my kids?  They are well-balanced, smart, and loved.  Why am obsessing over the posts of people who are so happy every single day?  Why am I wishing to have a bigger, fancier house?  Just a few years ago, this little house was my dream because it got us out of a tinier apartment!  Why am I wishing for her ability to be thin, or his new job, or their annual vacations?  Why does the sight of this person make me feel angry now?  Why am I hiding them on Facebook so I don’t have to see their perfect life?  Why am I so miserable?  Why, why, why!

I realized that I was scrolling and scrolling, admiring all these other people’s highlight reels.  That’s all they are, they are highlight reels.  All of us go through life.  We all go through stuff.  Messy stuff at that!  However, the first thing we are going to post about are the good things!  Obviously!  Although we all may rant once and again, for the most part we are using Facebook to brag about the best parts of our days.  Why would we share a photos of the kids messing up the house for the 3rd time today?  Or the pile of paperwork sitting on your desk, waiting to be attended to?  We are only sharing the positive.

So, what’s the balance?  Where’s real life?  How on earth do we move on from feeling an inch tall?!   Should we create a special Facebook reality page with cameras to prove nobody’s life is perfection?  No, we shouldn’t because the camera thing is pretty creepy.  But, finding reality in a place where there’s virtually no negativity is tricky!  I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to quit Facebook.  But, all of this envy and jealousy are things we can control.  Quitting Facebook is not going to magically erase that hint of longing we feel for a friend’s fancier home.  Quitting Facebook isn’t the end all to envy.  The answer is within yourself and your ability to look up!

Sometimes we just have to remember that God is going to lead us right where we need to be.  This is tough!  So, so tough, but it’s true.  We are all where we are supposed to be.  Instead of asking God, why he seems to be rewarding somebody else instead of you, why not thank Him for giving you everything you have.  Why not trust in His ability to know what’s best for you at this time?   Maybe there’s a reason you are working all day?  Maybe there’s a reason you’re not?  It’s all in His plan and once you let go and give all of these destructive feelings of envy to God, you’ll find your contented heart.

Sometimes I do find myself falling into human nature and asking God, why?  Why does someone else get something I have longed for or had taken away?  But, He always finds a way to remind me there’s a reason.  There’s always a reason and with enough prayer and trust, He will come through.  He always, always will come through.

So, maybe it is a good idea to step away from scrolling a little bit.  However, it could also be a good time to think positive thoughts for the person posting their blessings.  Why not say a prayer or two and wish them well, rather than feeling hatred or jealousy?  Maybe show some love, rather than hate?  At the same time, give a little shout out to God and thank Him for knowing what’s best for your heart.

Don’t trust what you see all day on Facebook.  Put your trust in Him and He will show you the way.  There’s no status in the world that can compete with that!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” – Galatians 5:22-26

 Follow me on Facebook when you do scroll, facebook.com/slowpaceandgrace ūüôā 

 

 

 

 

Blog · God · Life · live · love · new · opinion · religion · Uncategorized · write

Religious, Churchy, Jesus Freak.

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Religious, Churchy, Jesus Freak.  Just a few of the names I have heard describe me since becoming a new Christian over one year ago.  I am amazed how my faith could push some people away.  I’m not scary, although I try to be when it comes to reprimanding my children (doesn’t work well).  I’m a pretty nice person, although I have a terrible tendency to laugh when people fall.  It’s a terrible habit, most likely some type of coping mechanism that I haven’t been able to shake for at least 25 of my 30-something years (this did not work out well in my summer camp counselor days).  But, still I wonder why my new-found faith pushes people away?

One thing that comes to mind is what many Christians are portrayed as in the media. Most of the time we hear the bad things that happen, over the good.  I have heard people describe Christians as having holier than thou, judgmental personalities.  Same with other religions.  As unfair as it is, there are still folks in the world who associate Muslims with terrorism.  That’s not an accurate comparison.  You do not damn an entire religion due to a few very evil seeds.  Same for Democrats, Republicans, different races, males, females, etc!  It is not truth, nor fact.  Yet it still happens.

It’s not my job to fight to make people believe in the same faith as I do.  It’s not my job to judge or look down on someone who does not believe in God (I married a man who did not believe).  It’s also not my job to preach my beliefs for the sole purpose of proving your belief wrong.   That’s not who I am and in my heart I do not believe that is who Jesus would have wanted me to be.

It is my job to be a light to the world, to accept everyone as they are.  I tend to observe and internalize my opinions, rather than putting it out on social media for the world to see.  You’ll find numerous amounts of family photos and silly kiddo quotes on my page, but you are not going to see me attacking other religions, political parties, or anyone. That is not Christianity to me.

I support gay rights.  I have several friends who are in the LGBT community and I love them all.  The thought of judging them all because I love Jesus and read the Bible does not even cross my mind.  While I know people who are incredibly vocal about their hatred for those that are gay, that is not me.  That is not the Christianity I practice.  Again, that is not what loving Jesus and believing in God means to me.

To me, loving Jesus means come as you are.  We all sin.  Every single one of us.  Myself, my husband, my kids, every single one of you, even those who hate.  Just because you hate strongly does not make you free of sin.  I feel that you can be gay and love Jesus.  I also think you can be gay and not believe in Jesus, but guess what?  I’ll still love you just the same.  This is the Christian that I am.  The funny thing is that while I like to call myself an Independent when it comes to politics, I always tend to lean more to the right. Again, not all Republicans (or Democrats) are the same.

I will testify all day long about the impact that loving God has had on my life in the last year and half.  I will tell you stories of God providing for us in a time where I didn’t think it was possible.   I’ll talk to you about what it means to tithe in our church and what that has done for our family.  But, I will not talk to you about why you should believe in all the same things that I do.   I also don’t want you to talk to me about why my beliefs are ridiculous.  It’s called being respectful, a characteristic  that I truly wish more would practice.  Differing opinions should not give you or I the right to be disrespectful to another human beings.  It’s not ok, even if you justify it with your own hatred.

I’ll continue shining my light into the world.  I’ll also promise to be a safe place and a voice for anyone feeling like they are shamed, scared, alone, or persecuted, Christian or non-Christian!  I am here for you and you are loved by me as a brother or sister.   Please do not let the darkness that some pour into the world impact your own light and spirit.  Keep pushing and keep fighting and know that I have your back!

It’s ok if you contact me regarding my opinions.  I’d love to have a conversation, as long as there’s a mutual respect involved.  It’s ok for you to disagree with me!  It’s also ok if you continue calling me a Religious, Churchy, Jesus Freak.  I’ll take it, I will own it and I will continue practicing being the loving, accepting, caring, non-judgmental, Jesus-loving Christian that I am.  Because that is what being a Christian means to me.

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16