Think back on some of the poor decisions you have made in life. Chances are, you made some important decisions when you were in the terrible toos. You were:
- Too tired
- Too hungry
- Too lonely
- Too broke
- Too discouraged
- Too angry
There are probably a lot more we could add, but you get the idea. If you are in one or more of the terrible toos you don’t have the capacity to think clearly. Your emotions are in charge and you are not considering long-term consequences, thus your outcomes will not be good.
If you find yourself in this situation, here is my advice:
- Never make a major financial or relational decision when you are in the toos.
- Remind yourself that this “too” shall pass.
- Realize that most (if not all) of the battles you are facing have a spiritual origin. The Bible says: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:10-18
The devil is a liar and he seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. He will use whatever weakness you have against you to take you, your family, and your fiends out. Don’t give him a foothold. He will feed your fears if you allow him to. Let faith in God be your shield and memorize Scripture so when he comes against you, you can give him God’s promises and take HIM out. Remember that the end of the story is already written. Just trust God and obey His word. He will be your light, your protection, your guide, and your provision if you will allow Him to.
Surround yourself with positive people who know God’s Word and can speak life and encouragement into your situation. You may be facing a mountain in your mind, but take heart: The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth. Psalm 97:5
Is it possible for two people of opposing views to both have positive outcomes? Well, yes and no.
Winning and losing is important to keep track of in sports, but in relationships it can be the beginning of the end if you are keeping score.
I found a simple correlation this week: Disagreements are mathematical! When I am tutoring kids in math, I try to get them to get and understand ALL the facts before they draw a conclusion. How can you get the right answer if you don’t have all the facts or you don’t understand them? It is impossible…just like it is in relationships. Jumping to conclusions is dangerous because it is like jumping off a cliff in the dark. You may be destroying a relationship if you proceed.
Our Principal gave a good analogy recently in a training session. He said when you have someone that is in disagreement with you, you bring either water or gasoline to the table. If you throw gasoline on the situation it becomes volatile and can spin out of control quickly. If you bring water (stay calm), you can extinguish the flame and seek to understand the other person.
If you want Win-Win outcomes, do the following things:
- Stay calm.
- Truly listen to the other person rather than forming your argument in your head while they are still speaking.
- Make sure you have ALL the facts and UNDERSTAND them.
- Don’t assume you know someone’s motives. Ask them and seek to understand.
- Avoid the words “Always” and “Never” when describing someone’s behavior. Most of the time it is simply untrue and used to drive a point rather than be truthful.
We have all had situations where we were 1,000% sure that we were right only to find out later that we either misunderstood the situation or we did not have all the facts…and WE were wrong. Humble pie is awful hard to swallow because it is filled with pride, and swallowing your pride never goes down easy.
There is an exception to seeking a Win-Win outcome: If you are arguing with a fool, walk away. You will never win the argument because they don’t care about the facts or the truth and they have had more experience than you will ever have, so let it go and let them learn the hard way. Their mindset is: “Don’t confuse me with the facts!” You won’t change their mind. Arguing with a fool is foolish. Don’t be the fool.
There is power in forgiveness, so forgive freely. Remember that love covers a multitude of sins, so love completely.
“Justice is giving someone what they deserve. Mercy is not giving them what they deserve, and grace is giving them what they don’t deserve.” Robert Morris.
Give others the mercy and grace that you yourself so desperately need. That results in a Win-Win most of the time. Shalom!
Is it any coincidence that “encourage” sounds a lot like “in courage?” I think not. Look at the definition of encourage: Give support, confidence, or hope to someone. The definition of courage is: The ability to do something that frightens one. Strength in the face of pain or grief.
When you encourage someone, you give them courage. When you encourage, you “in” courage them. How cool is that? It is like emotional surgery, or maybe giving a transfusion to someone. Here is the truth: Everyone needs to be encouraged! There is nobody walking this planet that does not face a moment of doubt, fear, or insecurity. We all have to face those moments and we all need to know that there is hope for us and what we are facing.
Sometimes we have to encourage ourselves! Self talk is powerful and can either propel us or hinder us from fulfilling our destiny. Encourage yourself every day to face your fears, overcome the obstacles which have held you back, and reach for your goals. Just because you have failed does not make you a failure, Amigo. Learn from the pain, and go for the gain. The game is not over.
I hope that you will encourage yourself as well as others. It is like giving water to a thirsty soul, and we are all thirsty.
We have all had times where it seems like the sky is falling, everything you do is blowing up in your face, and the stress level is off the charts. Ever feel that way? Hopefully you don’t allow yourself to live in the stress zone. Stress is a killer. It will zap your strength and literally can take your life. It can make you focus on the negatives if you let it.
Don’t do that. There is nothing productive with whining, griping, and letting negative thoughts rule your life. When nothing’s going right, what’s left is trusting God. It should not be the last resort to turn to God, but sometimes we ARE trusting God along the way and things STILL blow up in our face. What is up with that? Well, I don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t know why God allows things like that to happen to us, but I still trust Him. I know God has our back even when it seems like there is no hope. He is still there…working for us. If He is for us, who can be against us?
Our feelings often get in the way of our faith. If we don’t “feel” the presence of God, we might think that He has abandoned us. That is a lie from the Devil himself. He wants us to believe that God does not love us and is not there for us. Don’t ever let that thought enter your head.
Life is hard for most people. I believe that we have a choice when we hit the wall in our finances, our relationships, or even in our faith. We can give up or we can get up. Don’t allow feelings to rule your faith. Trust God. Believe in Him and His Word. Surround yourself with positive God-fearing people. Pray…pray…pray. Praise God in the storm. Let Him help you navigate your way.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says: Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and He WILL direct your paths.
Remember the lyrics from the song Waymaker: “Waymaker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness. My God…that is who YOU ARE!
Believe it, receive it, then live it.
The jury was only out for a short time before the verdict came down: Murder. The jury only took a short time to come to sentencing: 10 years. This verdict not only surprised most of us but it angered many who felt like justice was not served. People were already trying to stir up the public with the injustice that they felt they had witnessed.
Here is the miracle that unfolded before our eyes: Brandt, the brother of Botham Jean got on the witness stand to talk to Amber about the victim’s impact. He looked Amber Guyger in the eye and told her that he forgave her and only wished her well. He did not even want her to go to jail. He wanted her to know that the love of Christ was there for her, and he loved her as he did anyone. He then asked the judge if he could hug Amber Guyger. She said he could, and it was incredible! The two of them embraced and the tears flowed.
The miracle was not over. After the trial, Judge Kemp did something unconventional: she went to the family members of Botham Jean and consoled each of them and hugged them. She then went to Amber Guyger and did the same thing. She gave her Bible to Amber and told her that she needed Christ and to read the Bible starting with John 3:16. She then hugged Amber. It was an incredible moment in legal history. I don’t think anyone can recall such a moment of healing in a murder trial.
This is what grace looks like. This is what forgiveness looks like.
We live in a microwave society. We want what we want, and we want it now! The problem is, growth takes time. Take a look at plants and how they grow. The seed has to be planted in good soil, watered, and given the proper amount of sunlight. It takes time for the seed to sprout and become what it is destined to be. Take away any of those elements and it will not grow.
If you are frustrated with your growth (spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, financially), take heart. Don’t get frustrated with the process. Keep the goal in mind and stay focused. Have faith! When you haven’t seen a child for a few months, aren’t you amazed with how much they have grown? The funny thing is that the child does not see what YOU see. Sometimes we are too close to really see the changes taking place in our own lives.
When a child is conceived, it takes 9 months for the child to be born. You can’t rush the process. It is nature’s way of preparing the child for living outside of the womb. Look at the obstacles you face with different eyes. God’s timing is perfect. He is always on time….every time. Quit worrying about how things appear and trust that God will help you through it. He will help you grow and fulfill your destiny.
Don’t try to rush the process. You just might miss the blessing of the journey. Enjoy the day you have before you and learn to live in the moment. Your destiny will unfold when it is time.
Life can be frustrating at times for everyone. We have all faced times where nothing we were doing was working and failure seemed inevitable. Recently a young couple I know was trying to get the wife into a good hospital that would give her physical rehab as well as psychiatric help.
There was just one little problem: they had NO insurance. The first hospital that they were going to have to consider was one that had a terrible reputation for mistreating patients. Unfortunately there were few options because of the severity of the need. One quality hospital surfaced to offer help, but they wanted a tremendous amount of money. The mother was willing to do what she could, but the hospital requirements were just too much. They had pretty much given up all hope of finding a place that would help her get the care that she needed.
When all of their options had failed, God came through. Out of the blue the hospital agreed to take her and wasn’t haggling over the money. We can’t explain it. There is no logical or monetary reason that they should have helped, but they did.
I was thinking of a few scriptures (and there are many) that drive this point home:
Luke 1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Philippians 4:19 For my God will meet ALL your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.
Next time your back is against the wall, remember….But God. He is with us, for us, and able to do what no man can do.