Devotional – Walking Away

Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

I read once that integrity is doing the right thing – even when nobody is watching. The fact is, it’s really difficult for our private thoughts and actions to mirror those up for public consumption. Even harder for me than achieving personal integrity is the unrest I feel when in my relationships with others, things don’t add up. There’s a disquieting of my mind as I try to think thru conversations and understand the motivation of others. There are things in my life I don’t want to talk about with others. Areas I’m ashamed of. While I can be honest with myself about where my personal convictions stand, I will never know the whole picture behind someone else’s actions. I cannot possibly hope to understand what drives others responses in life. The full truth of where they are. But God does. Continue reading

Devotional – Momentary Troubles

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

These verses today reinforced for me something I heard in my church service on Sunday. Here’s what I wrote in my notes: “When we take anger and turn it inward, it becomes depression. When we take anger and turn it outward, it becomes gossip. When we take anger and turn it downward (start listening to the lies of Satan), it becomes oppression. Only when we take our anger and turn it upward does it find the appropriate vent, and we are able to move on.” Sometimes, we have a right to be hurt. We have a valid reason to be angry. It’s what we do with those emotions that determine the lasting effect of them on our lives. Anger resolved improperly only becomes a bigger problem. We vent to other people and turn into gossips. We harbor resentment and it eats us alive.  But the process of allowing anger to exist in a healthy way is hard – because it requires us to turn our emotions over to the Lord. Continue reading

Devotional – Delighted to Know You

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

I love people. Some of the most fulfilled moments in my life are when I really connect with another human being. That’s probably why it hurts me so much when I feel disliked, judged, misunderstood or outright lied about. Pretty much, I want to be liked by everyone. When it is wholly apparent that someone seems to loathe me, especially when it seems to be for reasons I can neither control nor change, it’s possibly the deepest wound I can bear. It hurts me beyond measure when someone’s aversion to me affects those I love. I really don’t know how to handle it.

You can probably tell, I’m struggling with a personal relationship right now. But you know what? God is faithful. I am not an early bird, but this morning, I awoke at 5 o’clock and couldn’t get back to sleep. I had a rough afternoon yesterday, discovering a duplicity that shocked me, and wrestled with my own emotions for hours before sleep finally came. The battle continued as soon as my eyes opened this morning. I tried to work it off at the gym, but still felt unsettled when I got home. I should have known to go to God first. This verse in Zephaniah (a book I don’t think I’ve ever read before) was like a soothing balm to my soul. As I re-read the verse, God’s love overwhelmed human hatred. I remembered that it really doesn’t matter what someone else thinks. It’s not important. I am precious to the Lord. He delights in me. What an amazing thought! Not just that He knows who I am, or that He occasionally checks in on how I’m doing. He delights in me. This same word (suws) is used in Isaiah 62 to describe a groom delighting in his bride. That’s how highly God thinks of me. Wow.

So really, how can I let the resentments and judgements of one little person affect me if I know I’m all good with God? Later in this passage (vs 19) God talks about dealing with those who oppress me – giving praise and honor where I’ve been put to shame. I am a fixer. It’s what I do. If something is wrong, I want to talk about it – out in the open and deal with it. But sometimes, that just adds fuel to a situation that’s being manipulated already. I need to rest in the knowledge that God has my back. I don’t need to prove my worth, argue my convictions or convince anyone to like me. I just need to respond in love, not allowing anger over the hurt to take hold, realizing that the only One who matters is already delighted to know me.

Oh Jesus, thank you so much for being with me this morning as I struggle with hurt. Thank you for calming my aching heart with your love and showing me (again) that the situations of life are never outside your command. Help me to hold on to your peace thru all conversations – to cling to your word’s promises and not allow the ugliness of revenge and resentment to seep into my relationships.