Welcome to the well. Sit back, breathe deeply, relax and be refreshed! This page is intended to be a place to gain and share insights into this sometimes crazy, sometimes wonderful, usually messy but always blessed life we live. This is an environment rooted in respect for one another, where we can be transparent with each other, encourage each other and accept ourselves and each other where we are in this moment. I am a follower of Christ, and this will be clear at times. But those who do not identify as Christian are every bit as welcome as those who do, and will be treated with kindness and compassion. Again, welcome to the well!
While reading a devotional recently I was reminded of the scene in the Bible when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead (John, Chapter 11). A particular line from this passage caught my attention: After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus said, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go” (John 11:44).
Something struck me about this passage. Lazarus was dead, then Jesus brought him back to life. Lazarus needed to keep on living, walking around, eating, doing ministry, visiting with his family and friends, and all the other activities of life … and he could not do any of that with those grave clothes on! Lazarus needed to shed the bindings of his death that would hold him back from the renewed and abundant life that Christ gave him!
You and I were once dead. But then, if you know the Christ as your Lord and Savior, you and I were given new life. Eternal life, absolutely and irrevocably! But also new life right here and now, and for the rest of our days on this planet!
However, we cannot move freely and fully into that life if we are still bound by the evidence of our previous life and the death that life brought to us. We need to surrender those things to the Lord and let him remove them from us, once and for all. We tend to want to keep those things wrapped around us because even though they are not meant for us to hold onto, they are familiar, and that makes them just a little bit comfortable to us (or, in come cases, VERY comfortable, am I right?). But they are cumbersome, burdensome, and yes, they even tend to stink up the new life we have been given.
These grave clothes are made up of lots of things, like unforgiveness, addiction, unhealthy speech and thought patterns, generational curses (fancy words for unhealthy junk our parents and grandparents passed onto us, often unintentionally), and even toxic relationships. This list is by no means all-inclusive, so I urge you to go to Jesus in prayer so he can lovingly show you what grave clothes are keeping you from walking freely and completely out of the life you died to and living the full, rich life that He intends for you to live.
It is often uncomfortable, challenging work, peeling off and surrendering those grave clothes, but with the help of Jesus, it can be done. Won’t you let him minister to you, help remove what hinders you and the sin that has you entangled (Hebrews 12:1)?
Step by unhindered step, with the help of Jesus, you can come forth from the grave of your past and be clothed with the freedom of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14). And when you do, you will be able to leap and dance and run with joy the race set out before you (Hebrews 12:1)!
As always, if you find your self stuck or in need of help to take steps to live and feel healthier and more satisfied with your life, please feel free to reach out to me!
This week, we celebrate the beginning of the most significant life ever lived on this earth. The beginning of the ultimate rescue. The arrival of the key to peace.
This life would not be easy. The life of a King who chose poverty over riches, who lived as equal to the Father but as humble as a servant. The life of a man who refused to be enslaved by his flesh, in order that he could offer us freedom.
This week we will celebrate the beginning of the most precious life ever lived, the life of a man who taught, who wept, who laughed with his friends and experienced anguish like few of us will ever know. A man who loved like none of us are capable of loving. A young life ended unjustly, tragically, and voluntarily. A life that was lived, and ended, to give us a gift. The gift of salvation.
In light of such a gift, our response must be simple and true; we must be thankful. And the fruit of such a depth of gratitude is to live a life in service to the giver of such a magnificent gift.
It can be easy to get “wrapped up” in giving and receiving gifts to and from loved ones. But don’t forget, in this season of busyness and in these days of chaos and uncertainty, that there has only ever been one gift that really and truly matters. One gift that transcends time and the temporal. One gift we cannot hold in our hands, only in our hearts. It is the gift of the Christ. If you have not yet received this gift, I believe your soul is eager and longing to. Please, reach out to me or another believer you know; the gift we have been given longs to be the best gift you’ll ever receive, as well!
Let us celebrate with awe, reverence, and purest joy this Christmas. Happy birthday, Lord Jesus the Christ!
From our home to yours, merry Christmas.
“But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired.” (AMP)
In Isaiah 40:31, Scripture tells us that those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. It does not say that when we worry and strive and grasp and overanalyze (which I am FAMOUS for, believe me) we will find rest.
I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of running full steam ahead and hoping I’ll see the moment when God says, “Here, Angela. Have some peace as you try to do all this stuff you are doing on your own power. Have a healthy dose of joy as you choose to exhaust yourself.” That is sort of like when those amazing, wonderful humans stand on the side of a racecourse and hand out little sips of water to the runners. Experienced runners do not typically swallow that water, they just wet their mouths with it, so they do not get sick. But the water is not hydrating their bodies like it does when we drink deeply. It is refreshing, but only comforts for a short time. Sort of like all those little things we soothe ourselves with when we get worn out because we choose not to rest, like alcohol, food, drugs, television … it is a long and often shocking list.
When I do not stop and rest in the Lord. He does not abandon me. But I do not get that soul-deep peace I crave. I do not get that joy that I can feel in all of my spirit. I do not overflow with hope until I surrender my striving and my running and my planning to trusting in Him. To believing in Him. To waiting for Him, with Him, in Him.
Won’t you join me in making a conscious decision to make time to rest in Him at least once per week? This may look different for you than for me, but it could include any one – or combination – of these: time in prayer, time spent pondering Scripture (even one verse that touches your heart), time being still and silent in His presence, or any other way that you feel deeply connected to the Holy Spirit that leaves you feeling refreshed afterward, like your power has been renewed.
Let’s be people of rest, not people who are stressed.
I’m talking about all that “stuff” we fill our days with that keeps us on our toes, on edge, and on a path leading to regret and often to some dangerous habits. Sadly, it is often the same “stuff” we get kudos for from family, bosses and everyone who benefits from our “tireless” efforts (reality check: THEY are not tired; we ARE). And let’s face it; too often it’s the stuff we put on ourselves. Frequently we are our own biggest critic and our own biggest cheerleader, encouraging ourselves to fit more in, to feed that frenzy!
Sure, it’s good to be efficient. But I find myself making a game of seeing how much I can squeeze into five minutes, or thirty minutes, all through the day. You’d be surprised; it’s pretty impressive! However, I also find myself getting to the end of far too many days and realizing that I have not experienced the day that has just finished. I mean, I survived it, but that doesn’t mean I experienced it. It’s more like I attacked it with so much focus that I was blinded to the small moments, or even to the potential for those moments. You know, the moments that matter.
While I know we’re all busy during this most unique holiday season, I encourage you, along with me, to carefully weed out the things that don’t matter so much and replace them with only the things that do.
- Toss your unrealistic intentions. The good intentions that are bound to lead to disappointment should get ruthlessly eliminated right now, before the disappointment and guilt settle in. That includes things like the hand-made gifts for every teacher in the school district that you want to make, but that you haven’t even purchased the supplies for yet. Or the two-dozen cookie trays consisting of 35 unique cookies per tray that you have been wanting to make (besides the would-be recipients may appreciate that you didn’t add to their guilt come January’s weigh-in!). Even those all-day, back-to-back appointments for work can’t become a habit. Stop it now before you burn out!
- Prioritize people. Instead of spending hours (or days) making sure the house is immaculate for the holidays, make time for a Zoom party with the friends you can’t meet with face-to-face right now, and with your family from out of state who can’t travel to see you this year. All you have to do is wear relatively clean clothes (or at least a clean shirt, am I right?) and point the camera toward a clean-ish space! Then sit back, relax and enjoy the time you have with them.
- Make the best of less. Don’t waste tons of time (and money that so many of us are extra short on this year) preparing food for the masses. Instead, take advantage of smaller gatherings and spend more time playing games with those closest to you. In fact, let everyone choose a dish and cook it; preparation of a smaller-scale meal will be easier to supervise!
I’m sure you have other helpful ideas, and I’d love to read them in the comments!
We’re all a bit off-kilter this year, so give yourself some grace. Give yourself room to breathe and make some time to just do that, to just breathe. The important things will fall into place more easily when you’re rested, calm and feeling fresh instead of frenzied.
Remember: every minute does not have to be jam-packed, no matter what you may be telling yourself. It is better to be available than filled with regret. Most of us have been reminded more this year than ever that life is short. Step away from the laptop. Look up from your to-do list. Notice the people in your life and enjoy them, as you forget about the frenzy.
Last week I told you what I used to believe about the “Quest for Purpose,” and how God lovingly corrected me, pointing out to me what I was missing. This week I’ll tell you how He filled in the blanks and graciously turned on a light bulb in my head, giving me clarity on what our one true purpose in life really is…
What God Says
You see, God has gifted us all with a unique combination of specific gifts, talents, passions, personalities, and temperaments. And I believe in various seasons of life He gives us assignments to accomplish utilizing those gifts, talents, passions, etc. As it turns out, our purpose is to be obedient to Him and to use them however he requests.
DON’T MISS THAT.
It is our purpose on this earth to be obedient in every season, no matter what tasks God assigns us! OBEDIENCE IS OUR *ONE* PURPOSE! Our gifts are not our purpose. Our passions are not our purpose. Our talents are not our purpose. Using them IN OBEDIENCE TO GOD is our purpose.
Throughout the Bible God calls His people to be obedient: Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist, Matthew, Peter, Paul, and countless others, including the generations to come (that includes us).
- God required obedience of the Israelites in the desert: “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples…” (Exodus 19:5). Note the promise attached to this request for obedience!
- Jesus says to his followers: “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
- The Holy Spirit, through James, admonishes believers to be “doers of the Word” (James 1:22).
Jesus set the example:
- “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8)
- “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42, emphasis mine).
- “…but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (John 14:31, Jesus speaking, emphasis mine).
- “So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say” (John 12:50, Jesus speaking, emphasis mine).
There are promised blessings attached to obedience:
- God will make His home with us (John 14:23).
- We will “eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19).
- He will “open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough room to store it” (Mal. 3:10).
- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21, emphasis mine). Note that this one begins with a warning!
There are more, and I encourage you to search the Scriptures for yourself to learn what God says about being obedient, along with the blessings that come with it – AND the dangers of disobedience.
Making it Practical
Here’s another example: Say my vocation is “auto mechanic.” That does not mean it is my purpose, even if I am the best auto mechanic ever, anywhere, in all of history. It means merely that that is the VOCATION God has blessed me with and skilled me to do. Now, if a single mom comes in with three kids in her car, which has a leaky exhaust that will prevent it from passing inspection, it is my JOB to fix her car. But let’s say God tells me to slip a $50 bill into the console where she can find it later on, or to do the repair without charging her for labor. My PURPOSE in that moment is to be obedient to His instruction, in the situation He has placed me through my vocation.
But let’s make it a bigger stretch: Say that in this same scenario God asks me, the mechanic, to find out who in my neighborhood is in need and anonymously put a bag of groceries on their doorstep. Now, even though my VOCATION is as a mechanic, God is asking me to do something completely unrelated to that vocation. My PURPOSE is still obedience to Him.
For the longest time, I thought my purpose was synonymous with my job. Not true. My purpose is to be obedient to whatever He asks me to do, whenever He asks me to do it, whether I’m at work, at church, crossing the street, shopping for groceries, or sitting inside my home watching Netflix.
So Stop It Already
Stop searching and striving for your “purpose” in life and start resting and trusting and listening for that still, small voice. He will tell you what to do, where to go, who to reach out to, what job to take, which school to go to, who to date/not to date, and on and on and on. Your purpose is to say, “YES, LORD!” To be obedient to WHATEVER He calls you to do.
Now, I know some of you may be rolling your eyes and thinking I’m a bit slow. I’m sincerely overjoyed for you that you have figured this out already!
But for the rest of you folks who, along with me, have toiled and searched and grieved over what we’re supposed to be doing with our lives to serve God best, what He put us here to do, “what our purpose is”; it is this one simple, yet often incredibly difficult, small but often overwhelming, thing:
Our purpose is to be obedient to God. To say, “Yes, Lord.” To say, “You chose me, and I will go.”
Be sure to subscribe to this blog and like my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/angelaglicklifecoach) to stay up to date on future blog posts and other meanderings.
STOP SEARCHING FOR YOUR PURPOSE!
Yes, you read that right. I want you to stop searching for your purpose. Those words are hard to write, because for years now, I’ve spent hours in prayer concentrated on figuring out my purpose, toiling, taking assessments, crying, journaling, reading the books and doing the Bible studies, striving to the point of exhaustion. The “Quest for Purpose” has become a billion-dollar industry, and I’ve done my share over the years to contribute. All along, I was missing the forest for the trees! Thankfully, God recently shed some light on this for me. You know, like He does.
What I Believed (Erroneously)
I have long believed the sometimes-troubling idea that we do not have onepurpose in this life. Rather, I believed that our purpose changes from season to season, though there is often something of a common thread running through those seasons.
For example, if a young woman is gifted in finance, has the appropriate degrees, and excellent job prospects, but becomes pregnant, there may be a period in her life when she is a stay-at-home mom. Her purpose, under my former way of thinking, may then be to use her financial prowess to the best benefit of her household. Then, perhaps, at a future time in her life her purpose (again, according to my former way of thinking), might be to use part of her income from one of those excellent job prospects to sponsor a missionary or help fund the building of a church.
The common thread is her financial skills. The seasons are her youth, stay-at-home motherhood, and attending to her career goals.
The Missing Piece
This is a good start, but an important foundational piece is missing here – her actual purpose. The above example merely demonstrates how she uses a specific gift from one season of life to the next. That is not to say that God won’t use us to bless others through our gifts, because He will. That is why He has given them to us; not for our benefit, but to bless others!
But understand this: Her gifting is not her purpose. Which is reassuring because we are blessed with multiple gifts and talents. That being true, this is where many of us get confused, bogged down, frustrated, and sometimes lose hope and motivation. Here’s why: If we have four outstanding talents (cooking, making people laugh, painting breathtaking art and juggling, for example), and we don’t understand what our ONE TRUE PURPOSE is, we may spend a lot of time, energy and money barking up the wrong tree. FOUR TIMES (or more)!
Next week, I’ll share with you what God has laid on my heart about the “Quest for Purpose” – a topic I’ve talked about, blogged on and completely misunderstood for years! Be sure to subscribe to this blog and like my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/angelaglicklifecoach) for part two, and to stay up to date on future blog posts and other meanderings.
Recently, I found myself wondering why it is that we have to look so far – all the way to heaven – for joy, peace, comfort. Why this life “must” be so full of hardship, as we are told in Scripture that it will be (1 John 16:33). Then a few things happened:
- I remembered that it is sin that has our world so upside-down and inside-out, so full of strife; and that it is a gift from God that we do, in fact, have heaven to look forward to!
- As I began to read Scriptures involving suffering, I found an interesting takeaway: the majority of them come with an encouraging promise! A few examples:
- “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10, NIV, emphasis mine).
- “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:19, NIV, emphasis mine). (Note that you are made righteous when you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior (Romans 3:22), so this promise is for all believers.)
- “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (1 Cor. 4:17, NIV, emphasis mine).
- “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:1-2, NIV, emphasis mine).
- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” 1 John 16:33, NIV, emphasis mine).
There are more, but I encourage you to find them on your own.
- God reminded me that heaven isn’t so far away, particularly since believers are indwelt with the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 1:21-22). I mean, for me that feels like a piece of heaven living right inside me!
- I remembered that when I keep my gaze to heaven, a couple of things become clear:
- Heaven doesn’t seem so far away; and
- I am no longer focused on the suffering of this world.
- I am reminded that if I choose to, I can see much good in the world, even good that comes from suffering. Is that always easy? Well, no. But it does get easier the more I intentionally practice it. So, my perspective, as usual, largely dictates my emotional state, and my perspective is up to me to adjust (and is one of the few things in life I can actually control).
I came away from this prayer time (and from writing this post!) encouraged and at peace. I hope you will, also!
If you are struggling to find hope in your current circumstances, please reach out to me, or to someone, for help. You can reach me at email@example.com.
I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a year that has engendered a lot of pain in a lot of people. Furthermore, the holidays are now approaching quickly, and many people struggle during the holiday season during years that are otherwise not quite as challenging as 2020 has been. Without a doubt, you know someone who is hurting, and most likely, you’ll be getting some practice on what to do and not to do when interacting with them, and I want to help set you up for success.
Last week, we covered four “don’ts,” things we should avoid doing when interacting with a friend who is hurting. This week, I’m sharing a few “dos” to help you and the person you’re communicating with navigate potentially difficult discussions, so you come away feeling like you honored them and didn’t add to their pain, and they feel like you added value to their life (or at least didn’t make it worse!). Here are three things you can do:
Listen. When someone talks to you about their trials, whether the trials are physical, emotional spiritual, relational, etc., just listen. You don’t actually have to say much. You can let them know you’re listening by occasionally telling them some version of “I’m with you.” Or you can ensure they know they still have your attention by making eye contact (preferably not with glazed-over eyes). Nod and/or make sympathetic noises. Occasionally confirm that you understand by saying a version of, “It sounds like you’re saying ______________, is that right?” You’ve got this: speak less, listen more.
Minimize Your Exposure
- If you can’t resist minimizing the other person’s issues, minimize your time with them. You can do this tactfully, if you try, and it may preserve your friendship. We can’t stay in the mud with someone else forever. However, I urge caution here: if you value the person and the relationship, don’t abandon them. Just make the visits farther between and shorter. I have recently discovered the value of scheduling particularly challenging people to meet at a location an hour before it closes. Disclaimer: It doesn’t mean that’s always the case when I schedule late appointments – sometimes it’s because I only have an hour and I really want to spend some time with the other person, even if we have to be brief. But this scenario takes me out of the hot seat for finding a way to end the conversation if I simply cannot endure much of it and I don’t want to further tax an already-hurting person’s feelings.
Steer Them Toward Help
- Sometimes the other person’s crisis lasts a long time. Hopefully, if this is the case, they will seek professional help, or, as I’ve referred to it, hire a “rent-a-friend.” There have been seasons in my life when it began to feel to me (and most likely to my friends as well) that I was sucking the life out of my friends by dwelling on the negativity in my life every time I was around them. I realized I needed a “rent-a-friend” to listen and help me sort out my junk before my friends wisely jumped ship and renting a friend was the only way I’d have one. There is no shame in finding a qualified counselor to help us when we’re in a rut, and it may well save the relationships we value and hope to still be a part of when the darkness abates and the sun comes out again (and it will come out again).
- If you are close enough to the hurting person and their issues have been going on a while or you think they’re sinking in quicksand, AND if you can do so from a place of love and concern for their best interest, you may be able to recommend they find a counselor.
- Before you take this on, be very honest with yourself about your role in the person’s life. As a counselor, it would not bother me if someone I know loves me told me they feel like it may be time for me to seek help from a counselor. That said, not everyone in my life has earned the right to speak into my life at the same level.
- Be gentle, loving and cautious with your words. Getting professional help can be very scary and may make your friend defensive if they’re uncomfortable/unfamiliar with counseling. They may feel like you’re calling them crazy and pretty much no one wants to hear that. Employ wisdom and loads of grace and love here.
- If you’re a super-duper-amazing friend, and you’re in their inner circle, you may even come to this conversation with the names and numbers of a couple of counselors you’ve researched, who seem reputable and seem to share the other person’s values.
I hope these pointers help you breathe a little easier and enhance your relationships by equipping you with (or reminding you of) some ways you can best be there for those you care about who are going through a rough season in their lives.
Keep in mind, you’ve probably been that person at one time or another, and you may yet bet that person in the coming weeks. Wouldn’t it be nice if the people you talk to, especially your closer friends, had these tools in their pockets, too? Well, they can; feel free to like and share last week’s post and this one!
I look forward to reading your additional suggestions in the comments!
There is a LOT going on in the world right now. I know you know this, but I mention it because a byproduct of this truth is that people are struggling. Lots of them. Struggling HARD. I guarantee that at least some of them are in your sphere of influence, and there are some points that bear mentioning now and then when it comes to interacting with someone who is hurting.
So, I thought I’d share some dos and don’ts to help. You probably are aware of some or even all of these, but a refresher might be timely, particularly with the holidays approaching.
While I’m only scratching the surface, this post was a bit long, so I split it into two posts. This week, for brevity, I’ll share four “don’ts” with you, and three “dos” next week. So, without further ado, the “don’ts” (see how I did that?) …
Tell them it could be worse.
- It is doubtful that any of us has ever encountered an adult who doesn’t fully understand that “it could always be worse,” so don’t say that. Or any version of it. When people come to me with troubles, they often tell me early on some variation of “I know it could be worse,” or, “I know it’s not the worst thing in the world that can happen,” or, “I know others who have it worse than I do, but …” and frankly it bothers me that people have become so accustomed to other people’s callousness that they feel they need to minimize their own problems in order to appear rational.
- While I suppose it’s healthy to acknowledge that whatever is bothering us is, in fact, not the worst problem any human has ever experienced, it is nonetheless the situation we are in at this moment, and it’s a legitimate problem for us or we wouldn’t be talking about it.
- (Also, I wonder if sometimes people don’t say it as a preemptive strike, so they don’t have to endure hearing it from the other person).
- Let’s face it: it’s an insult to the hurting person’s intelligence and it often comes across as, “yeah, yeah, yeah … cut to the chase, and get happy already because I’m uncomfortable with your discomfort.”
Say “At least…”
- If at some point in the conversation with a hurting person you feel compelled to allow yourself to say anything starting with, “At least…” STOP YOURSELF. Bite your tongue as hard as you have to, but DON’T SAY IT. Examples:
- “At least today’s better than yesterday.” This can come across as, “Wow! So, you’re good now! What a relief for me!”
- “At least it’s only going to cost you $300 instead of $1000.” That $300 is big potatoes or they probably wouldn’t be bothered about it. There have been times in my life when $300 might as well have been $5,000. Allow for their perception of the issue.
- “At least it’s fixable.” They probably are aware of this, but the waiting time for the fix may feel like an eternity. Maybe they’ll be in a lot of pain until then. Maybe the fix comes with its own scary challenges.
- “At least you’re not alone.” Nope, they’re not – they have you, dear friend, so be good to them and don’t assume you know what their other relationships are like. They chose you to be vulnerable with. Don’t teach them they can’t be.
- Almost anything coming after “at least” is going to minimize their issue, and here’s another truth: many, many people find it far more difficult to express their feelings than to ignore or minimize them. In other words, they are very likely needing someone who doesn’t need them to minimize their struggles for the other person’s comfort or attention span.
Trivialize, Even Accidentally.
- Do not quote Romans 8:28 unless they are a brand-new believer and there is a genuine possibility they don’t actually already know this. Just don’t.
- Do not tell them “This, too, shall pass.” Yuck.
- Do not tell them “It will get better.” Yuck again.
- All of the above convey that you don’t have the patience to listen to them, you don’t care or don’t want to be bothered with their problems, that they need to “suck it up and move on,” or that they’re not the sharpest crayon in the box. Just don’t do it.
Play Mr./Ms. Fix It.
- Do not feel like you need to fix the problem. This one has been around so long and is so obvious that I will not belabor it. As a refresher, just remember that usually your friend just needs to feel heard. Most often, they will make it abundantly clear if they want your advice. Maybe you have to wait until the end of their “rant” for them to ask, “What do you think/What would you do?” but that’s okay. It often helps us sort out our own issues when we simply process them aloud.
- If you’re in doubt about whether they want your help or just a listening ear, ask them. If you’re uncomfortable with this, just know that many people value this type of clarification and most likely the other person will feel like you’re actually interested in the conversation. You add value to them by asking what they need from you rather than assuming what they need (you’re terrific and all, but not everyone wants or needs to be “rescued” or “fixed,” and your perspective on how you’d handle the problem may or may not actually be a good fit for them).
I look forward to your other recommendations in the comments!
Be sure to check out next week’s Monday Moment at the Well for part two, the “dos,” where I’ll share a juicy nugget I have figured out when dealing with a hurting person who I need to spend less time with.
Self-condemnation is a place where I’ve spent too much time. Maybe you can relate? I have been living in my heart with the same attitude toward myself I had back then, before I began passionately pursuing the heart of Christ. I have been merely existing, feeling shackled to condemnation, isolation, and “never-good-enough-ness.” I’ve been standing at the back of the room desperately wanting to be near my Savior, and at the same time fearful he would notice me and scorn me.
Mercifully, God has been working with me to help me see the truth; in large part that I am not the same woman I was 15-20 years ago and beyond (or even yesterday). He is showing me that she – the old me – is gone, along with the old life, and that a new life has begun (1 Cor. 5:17)!
One of the chains that Christ wants to break in your life is the one that keeps you bound to thinking you are still the person you were before you surrendered your life to him!
The enemy would be all too happy for us to choose to chain ourselves to our sin and shame. He’d thrill to know that we choose to keep our focus on what has been, rather than on what God says will be; on who we once were rather than the person God says we are now!
See, those chains were broken the moment we acknowledged that Jesus is the Son of God, and that we, as sinners, need him to save us from ourselves, from sin, and from our greatest foe. So why on Earth have I chosen to hold onto them for so long?!
I want to live free, and I can’t do that if I let the ghost of who I used to be hold me hostage daily!
If you can relate all too well to this, I urge you to pray the following courageous prayer with me:
God, search my heart, and I pray that you would find the good in me and help me to see it, too, for You, in your boundless generosity and grace, created me in Your image. You have molded me over the years, taking every good and every bad experience, and made me who I am today: a broken but beautiful, flawed but forgiven, weak but washed in the blood of the Lamb, person who loves you – and is loved by you – passionately! Lord, forgive me for submitting to the enemy of my soul and gazing into the pool of shame he has shown me for far too long. Today and every day, help me choose to keep my eyes focused forward and upward, wherever YOU are! Amen!