Rejection and Forgiveness

I came across this quote recently and couldn’t help but take notice.

Inspirational Quote

 

“When you forgive, you heal your own anger and hurt and are able to let love lead again.  Its like spring cleaning for your heart.”

-Marco Schimoff

I sorta dismissed it because I generally disagree with the concept of “healing thyself”.  But dismissing it right away wasnt right.  Because dont we need to let God in so He can do the work He needs to?  Dont we need to make the choice to forgive before forgiveness can begin its healing properties?

Recently the value of this quote shed some light.

I have been struggling with rejection.  Worldly rejection.  Familial rejection.  Just… rejection.  And I just happen to be that person that lets things fester.

The other day I woke up and it was wonderful.  I worked out, had great devotional time, started the kids homeschooling… everything was going well.

Quite by accident, I found out that some friends had decided to exclude me from a new project.

Now, I have no idea why they made this choice.  It could have been because they had too many people with the same name as me.  Or because it was Wednesday.  Or because they needed a change.  Or because they truly didnt think about me and knowingly reject me.

But in my mind, it was completely intentional rejection.  How could they do this and not include me?  It had to be intentional.  They made a conscious choice to exclude me.

I was devastated and it proceeded to ruin my entire day.  I just couldnt let it go.

In bed that night, the situation kept running through my head.  Since there was no logical way to reason out the situation, I decided that my only option was to reject them back.  Without them knowing why, I was no longer going to support them and their choices.  If they didnt want me as a part of their project, then that choice was going to ultimately remove me from their lives.

I could almost feel the bitterness growing.  My choice to react and reject based on a situation that I had no clear facts on had planted a seed of resentment in my heart.  It grew when I fed it.  It grew when I didnt.  It was quickly growing beyond my control.

The only remedy to this kind of bitterness is forgiveness.  The absolutely only way that I would be able to get my heart back would be to forgive them.

To forgive them.  To make the choice to let go of any hurt I had perceived they caused me.

I had to pray, “Lord, you know my heartache in this.  But I trust you.  I know that sometimes you put people in my life to teach me just like you remove them to teach me.  Lord, help me to truly forgive these precious ladies and to simply love them.  Remove my judgement.  Remove my bitterness.  No matter what they may say or do, help me to love them as You love them.”

Prayer

In all honestly, prayers such as that are not life long in their healing.  Since I still do not know the reasoning behind my friends actions, I still have occasional doubt and insecurity when I interact with them.  But now, instead of feeding into bitterness, I know where to direct those un-godly feelings.  And remember to look to Him for my value.  To trust Him that when I am in His will, He has me exactly where I need to be.

Funny things is that they will never know the heart struggle that their actions inspired.

But I am thankful for their actions non the less, because through them, I am learning to lean more on God.

Forever Reign

I volunteer at my church’s youth group.  There are a few reasons why this is completely ridiculous.

1. I am old.

2. I am exhausted.

3. Being hip is apparently a cool thing and not someone calling me fat.  Not that anyone has called me fat.  To my face.

But there are a also a couple reasons why this is exactly where God wants me.

1. It is completely overwhelmingly acutely awesome seeing young people of faith.  How jealous I am of their love for the Lord at such a young age!

2. I get to hear cool young music.

This brings us to this song that I would be remiss not to share.

The youth group has a worhsip team and they are pretty awesome.  And the first time I heard this song it totally crept into my heart and has embedded itself there ever since.

Hillsong Lyrics to Forever Reign

 

photo credit spiritualinspiration.tumblr.com

 

When they started singing the chorus I pretty much had to strap my hands to my sides. (Sidenote: cause as much as I love Jesus, I am MORTIFIED to raise up my hands in church.  Seriously, I have issues.)

“And oh, I’m running to your arms

I’m running to your arms

the riches of your love

will always be enough

Nothing compares to your embrace

Light of the world Forever Reign!”

Even listening to it now I just close my eyes and feel myself being drawn closer to Him.  These words and this music is truly a worship experience for me.

Now dont go telling those kids that they are a big influence on me.  I want to remain as cool and hip in their minds as possible. ;)

Hillsong Music can be purchased here.

 

Whole World vs. Soul

I just wanted to share a story with you that really touched my heart.  I hope it will yours as well!

 

 

Not a lot of press coverage was given to the tough Argentine golfer Robert De Vincenzo, but one story from his life shows his greatness as a person.

After winning a tournament, De Vincenzo received a check on the eighteenth green, flashed a smile for the camera’s, and then walked alone to the clubhouse.  As he went to his car, he was approached by a sad-eyed young woman who said to him, “Its such a good day for you, but I have a baby with an incurable disease.  Its of the blood, and the doctors say she will die.”

De Vincenzo paused and then asked, “May I help your little girl?”  He then took out a pen, endorsed his winning check, and then pressed it into her hand.

“Make some good news for the baby,” he said.

A week later as he was having lunch at a country club, a PGA official approached him saying, “Some of the boys in the parking lot told me you met a young woman after you won the tournament.”  De Vincenzo nodded.  The official said, “Well, she’s a phony.  She has no sick baby.  She fleeced you my friend.”

The golfer looked up and asked, “You mean that there is no baby who is dying without hope?”  This time the PGA official nodded.

De Vincenzo grinned and said, “that’s the best news I’ve heard all week.”

 

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

1 Timothy 6:6-7

The preceding story is from Gods Little Devotional Book, published by Honor Books.  Its a great book and I encourage you to get it if you need little boosts of faith.

Family Holiday Gatherings: A Biblical Perspective

I love Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Having hubby home, the spirit behind the seasons, the amazing food… its all enough to make me dream about these holidays for weeks before hand.

But there is another side to gatherings, one that can be sometimes stressful.

The truth is sometimes we just dont get along.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I deal with family.  Sometimes I look for the negative and not the positive in the people I love.  Sometimes I react to them in defensiveness based on my own issues, not on what they have actually said.  Sadly, its been easier for me to be in a pattern of critical thinking during those long holiday gatherings.

I forget how impactful the words I say are, and how lasting their impression is.  Even if what I am saying is not a true reflection of my heart, but simply an indication of a sour emotions or a bad attitude.

I came across these verses and I believe they have a direct correlation to how I can choose to think about extended time with family.

1 Peter 3:10-11 NLT

For the Scriptures say,  “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.  Turn away from evil and do good.  Search for peace, and work to maintain it…”

I love that part, “search for peace”.  What if I looked for good in others?  On purpose?

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 NLT

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.  For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.

This is Paul talking to the Corinthians.  One interpretation I heard of this message was that he was saying to them, “I am not here to listen to the gossip or the quarrels.  I am not focusing on this things of this world, I only want to focus on Jesus.”

I can only imagine the changes that others would see in me if my focus was truly on Him!  If I did not get caught up in strife, yet set my focus to the Lord.

Proverbs 19:11 ESV

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

One observation that I have noticed is that the deeper you love someone, the more vulnerable we are to feeling hurt.  I dont know about you, but I have heard words from family or close friends that cut like a knife.  Coming from a stranger would not have nearly the impact.

I know that those people love me,  and want the best for me, but I cant help but be torn up at how painful their sharp words are.  The above verse speaks to that so acutely for me.  I know I would want my family to forgive me when I say things I shouldnt, and here God is telling us that it is wise to do this right away!  Dont let things fester and turn into bitterness.  Forgive and let go.

Here are a few more versus that can help a troubled heart:

1 John 4:19-21 ESV

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Romans 12:18 ESV

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

John 13:34 ESV

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Hebrews 12:14 ESV

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

From the OpenBible.info.

 Heavenly Father,

I pray that your holy words will be permanently cemented into my heart.  That I will look for the good in others always.  That I will seek positive and loving words when speaking.  That I will honor you with my thoughts and actions.

Lord, please bless my family and our time together.  Help me to overlook things that may hurt, and to forgive as readily as You forgive me.  Help me to be an example of Your peace and love.  Help me to love others as You love them.

Thank you for this wonderful time we have together, where we can celebrate the birth and life of your Son.

In Your precious name I pray!

Amen.

 

Love is Patient… Right?

I came across this “Love” passage for kids from the Adventure Bible.  My kids really like this Bible!

We were reading 1 Corithinans passage last night, the famous one you hear at weddings.

“Love is Patient, Love is kind…”

This Adventure Bible had a little different take on it, and for some reason it really spoke to me.

“Love will stand in line and wait its turn.

Love looks for the good in others.

Love doesnt always want what others have,

and it doesnt brag about what it does have.

Love is polite, even when the other person is rude.

Love doesnt have to be first.

Love doesnt get angry over small things,

and doesnt remember one reason after another to be hurt.

Love isnt happy when someone else fails

but is happy with the truth.

Love will always protect others,

especially those who are picked on or teased.

Love always believes the best about others and is steady and true.

Love never gives up.

While I still believe the “original” version is brilliant and wonderful and compelling, for some reason this childs version spoke to me.

I dont know if I have been struggling with sin more in this holiday season, but I felt such a pang of conviction when reading, “Love is polite, even when others are rude.”

Have I been polite in the face of rudeness?  Sadly, no.

Have I held on to anger, found sin in others, or wanted what someone else had? Yes.

If the Lord is convicting me of something, there is a good reason.  If the Lord has shown me His holy and sacred word in a way that is specific and personal, then I know He is trying to reach me.

Today I will read this verse.  Today I will say this verse.  And today, I will try my hardest to live this verse.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Thank you Lord, for not giving up on this wretched sinner!

Do It Anyway

I have often reflected on this poem by Mother Teresa.  And today, as I find myself getting caught up in the “first” parts of these thoughts, I want to remind myself to focus on the second.

And do it anyway.

 

Do It Anyway

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.

Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.

Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.

Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.

Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

-Attributed to Mother Teresa, and is written on the wall of her home for children in Calcutta, India.

10,000 Reasons

I love worship music.  Old classics to new, contemporary tunes.  Anything!

 

Its all… well.  Its all music to my ears.

 

This song resonates with me so profoundly right now.

 

This song does something to me.  I have never been one to raise up my hands in church, never been able to just fall on my knees in devoted prayer.

But this song changes me… I just want to turn everything over to Him!  My time, my attention, my heart!

It reminds me how much I want to Serve the King!

 

The American Bible Challenge

Do you like Biblical trivia?  Are you a wiz whenever Bible questions come up?

You have got to check out this new show that is starting on GSN!

It is being hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, of ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5th GRADER fame. (and also “you might be a redneck if…” fame for me.  I just crack up at those jokes!)

You can click HERE to find out if the auditions are coming to a town near you.  (that link has all the important info!) Even if they aren’t, a road trip might be in order! :)

According to the official press release:

GSN is looking for teams of three people who have competitive spirits, great personal testimonies, a familiarity with pop culture—and, of course, an awesome knowledge of the Bible.

I can think of a few people who would be perfect for this!

And I gotta tell ya, to think that there would be a show on TV that is seeking out personal testimonies and glorifying God by showing His followers’ passion for His word… well, that is just AWESOME!

If you can think of anyone who might be perfect for this, I pray that you will send it to them.  I am so excited that Christians have an opportunity to share the Word and do it in a fun and educational format!