I think that all of us might need to sit back and take a break from the world around us right now. (Notice I said we, because I am in need of this too). We need to take some time to regroup and learn new strategies in order to move forward. Frankly, we need to change the way we think and react to the world that we live in.
We have been assaulted in many ways this last year and also in the new year. Some of us haven’t reacted very well to the assault. I think we need to realize one very important point. Satan is behind these assaults. He is the enemy— not your neighbor, not your friend, not your mom or your dad, not anyone that might have a different opinion than you do!! We need to realize that he is the author of chaos. We need to pause and look at our heart and see how it is reacting to everything around us.
“Your heart is the greatest treasure you have. Without a heart it’s impossible to live, or receive love. Without a heart you can’t possibly dream hope, laugh, find courage. Without a heart you will never be happy. Your enemy knows this, knows he can use your suffering to both shut your heart down and turn you against God, if only subtly, in doubtful hurt. Listen to me carefully; You must not let him. You must guard your heart with everything you’ve got, especially in time of disappointment and pain. Your secret weapon against the enemy’s hatred is to love God right then and there, in the midst of the sorrow, whatever it may be.” Eldredge
The assaults, that we have experienced in our lives, have hurt our hearts. I think we can all agree on that point. I grew up with a very abusive father. His physical and emotional attacks hurt my heart. Each one of us reacts to hurt differently. You might hold back from loving others. You might attack with your words. You might detach yourself from everyone. We just can’t deny the fact that the world we live in hurts us. Our reaction to that hurt is what we need to change. And we can’t change, until we deal with what has happened to our heart.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31 I know that most of us have read or heard this verse spoken. It is easy to gloss over it. You might say (with sarcasm), “Yes, I know I am supposed to love people around me, but…” It’s that last part of the verse that is the key. How can you love others if you don’t love yourself?
I hate to admit this, but loving myself has been hard for me. I think it stems back to not feeling like I was enough to make my dad happy. Nothing I did seemed to make my home life better. Now, that I am older, I can see that my dad didn’t love himself either. I think he had a broken heart from his childhood and never dealt with the pain it caused him. He allowed that pain to dictate the way he treated us. That’s what happens when you don’t deal with your heart.
Let me ask you a few questions that I have had to ask myself. How do you talk to yourself? What are your expectations for getting things done? What pace do you demand from yourself and would you expect the same from others? Is it easier for you to be kind to others than yourself? Do you treat others the same way you treat yourself? Please take a few moments to answer those questions. Your answers might surprise you. I know mine did and they made me realize that in order to love myself, I needed to be kind to myself.
What does it look like to be kind to yourself? Set aside time to do the things you love to do. What are you passionate about? What makes your heart happy? Hit the pause button on the demands of life and do those things. I absolutely love being with Jesus in the mornings. I sit in my chair and I read, journal and study. I try to set aside every morning for Him. I have to have this time to reset my mind. “We need more of God in our bodies, our souls, our relationships, our work, everywhere in our lives.” Eldredge
All of us need to take some time to think about love and kindness to others and to ourselves. God can restore us. God can work in our lives and change us. God’s way is gentle and kind. He doesn’t assault us like the world does. He definitely doesn’t want us assaulting one another either. We were created for love and good deeds.
Now, I am going to step on some toes here, but I need to share these words with you because they need to be shared. “I’m really surprised that the human race expects God to pour Himself and His blessings into their lives when He is not even the slightest priority, let alone a close and dear friend.” Eldredge “OUCH!”
Do we only turn to God when we need Him or are we turning to Him because we want to know Him? Are we seeking a relationship with Him? Is He a priority in our lives?
I agree that we desperately need God to intervene right now in our world. But more than that, we also need Him to intervene in our lives. We need to become a space for Him to live in. It is His love and His kindness that we need. We aren’t able to love with a supernatural love without HIm. He is the One who enables us to love the unlovable; forgive the unforgivable; be kind to the ones who don’t deserve our kindness.
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
God knows our hearts. We might be able to fool others, but we can’t fool Him. He knows how we feel about certain people. I have had to pray and ask for His help when I am around those people. I have had to confess my feelings. There are just certain ones that are difficult to love. I get it. But here’s the thing we need to remember—God commands us to love—It isn’t a suggestion. And because He knows we are going to need help with this—He has given us the Holy Spirit to give us the power to do it.
This is an example of what I do. “Okay, Lord. You know that I am having a hard time loving _____. I need You to love them through me. I need your love and not my own to shine through me. I can’t do it without your help.” We need to take ourselves out of the equation. We need divine intervention. Ask God to help soften your heart towards that person. He will. It might take some time, but He will. We have to become a space for God to work in our lives and we need to cooperate with Him.
I have had people in my life hurt my heart. The one who hurt it the most was my dad. I went through counseling for years because of that hurt. I also had to forgive him. I prayed for him. My mom once told me that in order for her heart to be right, she chose to pray for my dad. That’s a game changer let me tell you! “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
I am not saying that you need to stay in an abusive relationship. If someone is doing that, get away from them. I was a child and couldn’t get away from my father. Abuse is never okay. I just want to make that clear!
We have a choice to love. We have a choice to be kind. We have a choice to forgive. I choose to do these things because I love my Lord and I know this is the way He wants me to live. I am far from perfect! I have to have His help all the time. I simply can’t do it without HIm.
Would you please take the time to examine your heart and be honest with God? Would you ask Him to help you love, be kind and forgive? Would you open your heart to Him and let Him come in and heal it? Would you be willing to listen to Him and learn from Him?
I know this isn’t easy. But if we want the world to change, we have to change first. We need to become the people that God designed us to be. We need to be the people who are kind and compassionate to each other, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave us. Ephesians 4:32
There is an app I have been using by John Eldredge. It is called the One Minute Pause. I set it to go off twice a day. I use it to get my mind right and take the time to focus on God and release everything to Him. I actually feel relief when I do this. “Coming home to God is such a relief; there’s simply no other place human beings can flourish as we were meant to. Especially in this hour!” Eldredge
Changing the world begins with us. Take a time out! Choose to love yourself and love others. Choose to be kind to yourself and others. Choose to forgive yourself and forgive others. And don’t forget to ask God for His help! Oh what a wonderful world we would live in, if we lived those things out in our daily lives.
I usually end with—Until next time. God has given me something else to say. So, I will now be ending my posts with …. And this is my journey to joy! (God has such good ideas!) Thanks for reading my posts. I pray what I say helps you in your own journey with Him!