There are some struggles I’ve been having lately… well, more than lately. Some have been going on for a few months, and others go back farther than that. I will never use my blog as a place to air dirty laundry, so I am not going into details. But I cannot gloss over the fact that these situations are changing me as a person, and I feel God calling me to respond in ways I would have never responded in the past. He is teaching me about a new life and about redemption, and mostly about trusting HIM and not the enemy.
I have found some beautiful ways of understanding His will for me, by reading His words in all kinds of different places: in the Bible, in Christian authors’ writings, and in quotes of famous people. Here are some that have been speaking to my heart and hammering me over the head.
- “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper.” (James 4:7 MSG)
- “Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name. You're mine.” (Isaiah 43:1 MSG)
- “A flattering neighbor is up to no good; he's probably planning to take advantage of you.” (Proverbs 29:5 MSG)
- “Do not be surprised by the fiery attacks on your mind. When you struggle to find Me and to live in My Peace, don’t let discouragement set in. You are engaged in massive warfare, spiritually speaking. The evil one abhors your closeness to Me, and his demonic underlings are determined to destroy our intimacy. When you find yourself in the thick of battle, call upon My Name: ‘Jesus, help me!’ At that instant, the battle becomes Mine; your role is simply to trust Me as I fight for you.” (Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, December 3)
- “Be willing to go out on a limb with Me. If that is where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be. Your desire to live a risk-free life is a form of unbelief. Your longing to live close to Me is at odds with your attempts to minimize risk. You are approaching a crossroads in your journey. In order to follow Me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your tendency to play it safe.” (Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, December 9)
- “My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what God wants. Mark 3:35 Does Jesus have anything to say about dealing with difficult relatives? You may not be aware that Jesus had brothers and sisters. And it may surprise you to know that his family was less than perfect. Yet he didn't try to control his family's behavior, nor did he let their behavior control his. He didn't demand that they agree with him. He didn't sulk when they insulted him. He didn't make it his mission to try to please them.” (Max Lucado)
- “Instead of personalizing the things that happen to us we need to stop and ask a very important question: Is what the other person did a reflection on me or the other person? Etch the answer on your brain: people's actions are always a reflection of who they are. When someone treats you badly (or nicely), that is a statement about who he is as a human being, not a statement about you. People act the way they do because of who they are, not because of who we are.” (Dr. Chris Thurman)
- “We can't control the way our family responds to us. When it comes to the behavior of others towards us, our hands are tied. We have to move beyond the naive expectation that if we do good, people will treat us right. The fact is they may and they may not... Let God give you what your family doesn't. If your earthly father doesn't affirm you, then let your heavenly Father take his place... And don't lose heart. God still changes families.” (Max Lucado)
- “At some point, you have to realize that some people can stay in your heart but not in your life.”
- “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” (Winston Churchill)
- “I am thankful for the difficult people in my life. They have shown me exactly who I don’t want to be.”
And, lastly, this is a quote from a book I started reading with a Bible study group back in September. The quote STILL sticks with me, months later. “When people are not so easy to love, we depend on the Lord to love them through us. Sometimes God uses the ‘sandpaper people’ in our lives to smooth out some of our own blind spots and help us become a little less self-centered.” (Karol Ladd, A Woman’s Passionate Pursuit of God)
My hope is that these words will help you through some of your own tough times.