Here’s a blog I posted last year. I felt the need to repost because it’s good to keep reminding ourselves not to grow complacent in this life.
I recently had the opportunity to attend the life celebration of a dear friend’s brother. He had struggled with cancer and finally lost the battle. I didn’t know him, but went to support my dear friend. Knowing what to say to someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one has never been my strong suit.
When I entered the room where the service was to be held, I thought for a moment that I had the wrong room. Everyone was dressed in bright colors and there was island music playing. Along the side wall was more junk food than I had ever seen before. My friend ran up to hug me and thank me for coming to support her and she explained that all the food that was being served was all her brother’s favorite things. He had helped plan everything to make sure everyone would be comfortable and have fun.
The service started and they started talking about this amazing young man who had spent his life enjoying every moment. It was truly a celebration of a life well-lived. He had gone out of his way to make life better for those around him. He had also spent his last days trying to keep his loved ones laughing and enjoying the time he had left.
As I sat there watching the service I started to think about my life and how much time I had spent waiting to live. I had lived based on what I thought others expectations were and had been waiting for permission to live my life for most of my life. This had made me bitter and resentful for many years. As I heard about this young man’s life I thought this is how I want to be remembered when my time comes. I want people to look back and celebrate the life I lived. I want people to be better for having known me.
I left being challenged not to waste another moment of this precious life I’ve been given. It was not what I expected from the day. I had gone expecting to give support, but got much more from them than I gave.
What are you waiting for permission to do in your life?
I’ve spent a week in Pennsylvania in the winter. As we were driving to Lancaster from the airport, the sky was so bleak and it was very cold for someone used to temperatures in the seventies and eighties. Bringing my daughter back home to Florida was the goal of this trip, but I also wanted to see some of my friends and relatives before heading home. The cold has been almost unbearable and the reason for leaving in the first place has pushed its way to the forefront of my mind. Many times during the week, I’ve heard myself say, if only I could take you all back home with me. It’s selfish of me, because I know many of my friends and relatives feel the same way about living in Pennsylvania as I feel about living in Florida. Florida is paradise to me except that I had to leave behind many very special people.
Why can’t everyone just come and live with me? There’s been a constant battle in my mind all week. I can’t wait to get home and see all the new friends I’ve made in Florida and get back to the warmth, but I also miss my friends and family here in Pennsylvania. My heart aches sometimes because I miss them so much! There is not enough time to spend with everyone that I long to see and yet there is a part of me that can’t wait to get back to paradise, my husband and the home we have created. There is also a longing to get back to the passion and dreams that God has laid on my heart. Sometimes a strong feeling of wanting to run away and hide from the destiny God keeps showing me glimpses of overwhelms me.
Why does it seem that we need to make such big sacrifices sometimes to follow the dreams that God has placed in our hearts? There is always a price to pay. We can follow our dreams or we can live a life trapped in wishing we could make things happen. When we follow our dreams we will lose some people and things along the way, but we also gain many things.
As a result of following my dreams I have started to enjoy my everyday life. People have come into my life that give me amazing gifts like encouragement, challenge, support and love. I am a better person now that I am following the purpose I was created for. These gifts would be lost as well as all the good that God has designed for me to do, if I had chosen to play it safe and not risk following my dreams. So in closing, I must say that I don’t regret making the move and jumping into this new life.
What are you afraid of losing if you follow your dream? Please share so that I can pray for you!
In recent years, I’ve begun to learn to live in peace with others as much as possible. It took time to learn not to judge others and to accept correction from others. When authority figures have abused us as children it can be difficult to learn the difference between judging others and confronting behavior that needs to confronted.
When I was a child I was taught that it was wrong to stand up for myself. In response to having my boundaries trampled, I made an inner vow of judgment that no one would ever hurt me again. Making this inner vow made it difficult to accept anyone who had authority over me. Subconsciously, I believed they were always trying to hurt me.
God began to soften my heart and teach me to accept those in authority over me and to learn not to judge others motives. He taught me that not everyone in authority was out to hurt me and that there are times when we need to respect authority even when we don’t agree with it. There are times, however, when other people’s behavior needs to be confronted.
When David failed to confront his son, Amnon, for raping his sister, Tamar. The failure to confront Amnon had long term ramifications in David’s family that lasted for generations. The bible teaches us that there are times when people need to be confronted. Jesus confronted the money changers in God’s temple. Paul wrote to the Corinthians about confronting people in the church who were living in sin. Notice that in both cases the people being confronted were believers! Christians have a reputation for judging those in the world and the bible is clear that we are not to judge those who don’t believe, but to lead by example, pray for them, love on them and let God do the changing of their hearts.
So how do we confront others?
We first seek God. Prayer and reading scripture on the subject can help us to confront others the way God has instructed us to. (Matthew 18:15-17)
Ask God to reveal your motive for confronting this person. Is it out of pride? (Matthew 7:3-5)
Seek Godly counsel. Sometimes we might need to talk with someone who has more experience in this area than we have. This does not mean that we run and tell all our friends. We should seek the counsel of someone who can be objective for the purpose of guiding us and pointing us in the direction that God would have us go.
Pray. Pray for God to give you the words to respectfully deal with this person and pray that their hearts will receive and understand the correction as a learning experience rather than an accusation or attack.
Bring in re-enforcements. If you confront someone in a spirit of humility and they refuse to receive correction then you need to go to someone who can help support you. (getting another perspective can help the situation)
Go to the leaders of your church and ask for help in confronting this person.
If they refuse to listen after all of these steps have been followed than you will need to take action to remove them from the situation.
All of these steps should be taken prayerfully with discretion, humility and with love as the motivation. Love for the person you are confronting and love for those that have been affected by the behavior.
What have you learned about confronting others? Please share your experiences, the good, the bad and what lessons you learned as a result.
Last Tuesday evening, I had the privilege of speaking to a group of people attending Celebrate Recovery at The Grace Place. It was the largest crowd I have spoken in front of so far. A few of my friends had come out to support me, along with my husband. I watched as people continued to pour in and more chairs were brought out to give them a place to sit. The fear started to grip me as I was starting to wonder what I was doing there. Who do you think you are? Do you really think these people are interested in what you have to say? What if you mess it up?
The moment came for me to walk up on stage. I ran up, knowing that if I waited too long, I would run the other way. I looked out on the group and said a quick prayer for God to give me His words and to prepare the hearts of those hearing those words. I fumbled through the first few sentences and then the words of one of my friends who came to support me came back to me. She said, “If you love your audience than you’ll be just fine.” I looked out and realized that sharing my story was not about me; it’s about what God has done.
As I recounted my story, God’s goodness became new again. He filled me with a desire to let everyone in the room, who had lost their hope, know that they were not alone. God was right there waiting for them to ask for and receive His help! Joel 2:25 came to my mind again. “I will redeem the years the locusts have eaten.” My mind when back to the day God revealed that verse to me and promised me that He would redeem what the enemy had taken away, my childhood, my family and my dreams. He would redeem the years that I had wasted in anger and bitterness. “That”, God said, “is why you are here; to let them know what is possible with me.”
That is why it is so important that I continue to share the testimony God has given me. It’s not so others will look at me, but so they will look at Him and see that He will do the same for them. I share to defeat the enemy and the lies he keeps telling all the people who feel hopeless, defeated, and lonely in the world. The people who have decided it’s too late for them to make a difference in the world around them. That’s the mission He’s given me and that is what keeps me going. God is so good! He heals us, builds us up and then sends us out to share the good news with others. What mission has God given you? Please share so others can support you with prayer!