A Creative Word

Practical, occasionally funny, faith-focused thoughts.

Category: joy

Peace When You’re in Pieces

Almost every day I run into someone who is in the middle of a problem: her child is using drugs, or her mother is facing health challenges; perhaps her husband has filed for divorce, or maybe she is out of work and behind on the bills.

Whatever the situation, it’s big, it’s bad and she is almost overwhelmed, even though she keeps telling herself that it will all be ok. After all, she’s a Christian, and these things will work out for the best, right?

I get it. Believe me, I get it. And while it is absolutely true that God will use everything for His daughters’ good, there are some very real things you can do to make things better and less painful. Which means, unfortunately, that there are some very real things you can do that will make your situation worse and more painful.

(Screeeeeeeech!)

Did you hear that? It was the sound of some very nervous Christians slamming on the brakes. Look, I know actually acknowledging that a well-intentioned Christian can do things to make a bad situation worse is not a popular thing to say. Especially OUT LOUD. It’s too “negative.” But there, I said it, and I believe if you’ll think about it, you’ll agree.

You and I have both seen Believers face seemingly insurmountable situations and thrive, growing in their faith and having an extraordinary amount of peace throughout incredibly tough situations. By peace I don’t mean that they aren’t sad or grieving or having a difficult time; I mean that they have a “wholeness” even while they are in the middle of their grief. And most likely we’ve said. “Girl! You’re totally rocking it! You’re amazing! Your faith inspires me!” (And in response, she probably gives God all the credit.)

And we’ve also seen Believers face situations that sent them into tailspins that shook their faith—they ended up leaning away from God and isolating themselves from other Believers. Their lives spiral down and down– sometimes for years. And often we react toward them with grief, or even frustration and anger. (Sorry. The “screeeeech” earlier should have clued you in that I pretty much try to tell it like it is, rather than make everything look pretty… I tried pretty-fying everything, and it didn’t work out too well in my life.)

Unfortunately, that downward spiral I mentioned isn’t an exaggeration. I know because I’ve watched it happen—but more importantly, I know from scripture that it’s true. (Remember how David tried to “fix” his downward spiral into adultery?)

When you’re in those kinds of situations, you need HELP. That is, you need Hope, Encouragement, Love and Peace.

Peace… have you been longing for peace? It’s more than just “calmness.”

Jesus said, “My peace I give to you—not the kind of peace the world gives, but the kind only I can give.” The Hebrew word for “peace” is “shalom.” Shalom actually means “nothing missing, nothing broken, whole, complete.”

Now, THAT will bring you calmness!

And there’s good news! There are several other things that can bring you Hope, Encouragement, Love and help you hold on to the Peace He gives you. Over the next six weeks I’ll be sharing some actions that will give you HELP.

In the meantime, think about that definition of Shalom-style peace. And go spend 10 minutes, just you and Him—get some of that Peace you’re longing for!

“I will fight your battles, and you will hold onto your peace…” Exodus 14:14

I’d love to speak to your women’s group! Click here for more information.

>What’s Shaping Your Identity?

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Today, I read this on a blog:
“Some of you see this pain as a friend – it gets you the attention you need from others, and the thought of losing that attention can be frightening. To you, losing the attention of others means being alone and that seems unbearable. Still this is another lesson you must learn – to the degree you feel alone is the degree you depend on others for your satisfaction, value, and self worth.”

I know that we sometimes hold on to pain– or anger, or hurt– and I guess I never really thought about why, but now it seems clear.

It’s an Identity issue. (Hey– we’ve just been talking about those!!!)

Pain, Anger… these things help establish to us or to others WHO we are. “I am the one who was wounded– wrongly.” “I am the one who was done wrong.” “I am the innocent– and righteous– victim.” “I am the one whose gift is never recognized because of un-spiritual people are in charge at work or at my congregation.” “I am the one allowed to be suspicious, bitter, angry, selfish… because someone hurt me.” “I am a Christian, but I’m the body part that doesn’t have to be present when the body gets together– because the other body parts hurt me!”

How can you know when you’re holding on to pain or anger and letting it become– or at least shape– your identity?

I know that when I hold on to anger or hurt, it comes up frequently in my conversations… if you’re not as verbal as I am, then maybe you’re experiencing it as the conversations or situations you rehearse mentally, over and over again. Is that happening in your life right now? Has it happened in the past?

Letting go of those hurts and that anger allows us to begin to really believe what GOD says about us, rather than what we or others say about us.

And believing what God says about us opens doors to joy, as we begin to experience Life as He intended us to!

Not to ignore what has happened to us… we must gain the tools that help us to cope and determine to forgive (sometimes daily) so that God’s healing can come to us.

Even after we decide to forgive, the enemy often reminds us of the offense… and if we begin mentally rehearsing it, we’re right back where we started! So… remind yourself (and the enemy) outloud that you’ve decided to forgive, and cast down that vain imagination.

This is one of the toughest disciplines there is. In fact, fasting food seems easy compared to disciplining our thoughts! (Another truth from the previously mentioned blog!)

But the rewards are amazing!

Imagine truly believing that you are an HEIR– inheriting what Jesus does!!!
Imagine truly believing that you are EXPERTLY CRAFTED, of many things that PLEASE GOD!!
Imagine truly believing that you absolutely have every ounce of love He has to give– that no matter how much good you do, no matter how badly you fail or fall, He won’t love you any more than He does right now, and He won’t love you any less!!!!

If you TRULY believed– and behaved– as if all that God says about you is REAL IN YOUR LIFE, how would your life be different?

One thing is for sure: there’s more joy and more peace (wholeness– nothing missing and nothing broken) when I let go of hurt and anger, and make room for what is TRULY my identity.

And to experience it, we only have to trade in our pain and anger… that’s better than the $3k the govt is offering for trade in on cars older than 10 years!!!!!

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