Sunday, August 21, 2016

Reacting to Change {Anger Series}


Change. Sometimes you see it coming. Other times it is unexpected.

I’m experiencing change in a couple of different areas right now—one I’ve been preparing for. The other was sudden. Both will take some getting used to.

The sudden change has caused a range of emotions, but the one I’m not feeling is anger. I guess I could be angry. I could hold a grudge. But, it wouldn’t help the situation. And, I’m really not feeling angry, so why fabricate it?

I’ve been thinking about anger, though, because of some of the opinions expressed to me.

“If I were you....”

“You should….”

They were negative suggestions that could fuel the fire of anger, if there was a spark. But I didn’t accept the match. Instead, I just moved away.

I won’t wear someone else’s anger. If that’s the load someone chooses to carry, that’s their choice. But, when it’s forcefully shared with me, I don’t have to accept it. (I’ve learned that over the years.)

Reactions say a lot about us to other people. Some reactions touched my heart. Others made me want to run in the opposite direction. I don’t know what my reactions said, but I hope they were an example of optimism in this unanticipated change.

I hope my reaction to change reflects Christ, no matter how easy or difficult the next steps may be. When I say “I trust God,” I hope people see that I really do.

Anger is a normal human emotion, but it can be consuming, and it can blind us to the positive possibilities God can bring about through change.

I don’t want to miss those new opportunities. Do you?

In Christ,
Laura 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

God’s Grace in God’s Time


But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 

I don’t understand God’s timing. So often, I wish God would hurry up! But at the same time, in different situations, I wish time would slow down.

I can’t understand God’s timing because I can’t see the big picture. I can only see what is around me, what is affecting me, and what I can comprehend…from my viewpoint and opinion.

But God sees it all. He knows the big picture because He planned it. Every. Little. Detail. From the tiniest of details to the biggest part of the plan. He has it all laid out.

Most likely, I would try to negotiate the timing of His plan for my life. (If He chose to share it with me.) And undoubtedly, I would be surprised at the details He has planned for me because they are more than I even know to ask for.

Like grace. God’s undeserved favor and kindness.

God’s grace is more than anyone could have ever thought to ask for and more than we can possibly understand. He planned every single detail with precision, to take place at just the right time.

The perfect time.

God’s time.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law…

Every detail planned perfectly, from the when, to the how, and everything in between.

For us.

By God’s grace.

Heavenly Father, You shower us with Your grace, while we complain about the timing. Please forgive us. May we remember that You have every detail planned…more than we can imagine or ask for…and that Your timing is always the right time. Help us to let go of trying to understand Your work, and to accept that we don’t need to know everything. Your grace and Your timing is sufficient. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

In Christ,
Laura 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

When Your Vacation Gets Hijacked


Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Last month, my daughter and I planned a short vacation to visit family. We planned carefully, packed the car, and looked forward to getting away for a few days. Although it’s a long drive, we enjoyed our trip and arrived at our destination on time.

We made plans of places to go and things to do for the following days, and went to bed that first night in anticipation.

And then…a stomach virus hijacked our vacation. 

I'm excited to be sharing my story of our spoiled vacation and a perspective of thankfulness at The Laundry Moms today! I hope you'll join me there to continue reading --> When Your Vacation Gets Hijacked.

In Christ,
Laura 

[Photo credit: The Laundry Moms]

Linking up with: Coffee for Your Heart, Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth, #FreshMarketFriday


Sunday, July 31, 2016

When Anger is Easier {Anger Series}


I recently remembered a conversation I had with a friend years ago. I don’t remember what situation I was telling her about, but I know I was angry. After listening for a while, she said, “You’re hurt.” I agreed. I was hurt by what had happened, but what I said was, “Yes, but anger is easier.”

I’ve been thinking about it lately as I watch the news and hear about things going on around me. Even as I look at my own life.

Sometimes it’s easier to be angry than to admit the emotional pain.

Anger feels offensive. Hurt feels defensive.

Anger allows me to put up a wall, with the assumption that it will keep pain out. In reality, that wall locks the pain inside. {Tweet this}

Admitting emotional pain makes me vulnerable. It means I have to address what has happened, and it might involve forgiving someone who isn’t sorry…or someone who doesn’t even acknowledge they hurt my feelings.

Vulnerability takes us to a risky place. To admit we’ve been hurt means we have to take the “I’m fine” mask off, and risk being hurt further. But keeping the mask on brings just as much risk.

Behind the mask, we take the chance of losing ourselves to a life lived in anger.

Emotional pain and vulnerability are frightening places to be—except when we take them to the foot of the cross. There we don’t have to rely on our own strength to forgive because Jesus will help us.

We are only able to forgive others because God first forgave us.

Anger is a normal human emotion, but how we handle it and how we act while angry is in our control.
Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behavior which He requires from us]. James 1:19-20 (Amplified Bible)
I’ve been thinking about this as I watch the news. We have a lot of anger, and so much hurt, in our world. Maybe we see more of the anger because anger demands attention…while emotional pain often suffers alone. {Tweet this}

For myself, I’m trying to identify anger before it takes root. Here are a few questions I’ve been asking myself. Maybe they will help you too.

Why am I feeling angry?

Is it something legitimate? Or perhaps I’m overtired, stressed out, or not feeling well, and things are just getting to me. Little things have a way of building over the course of the day. Changing my perspective and taking control of my thoughts go a long way.

Is there something I can do about the situation, or is it out of my control?

Identify what I can and cannot control. If there’s something I can do to change my situation, then planning a course of action helps. No matter if it’s short-term or long-term goals, it still feels like I’m doing something to make a change.

If the situation is truly out of my control, then I need to make sure I’m spending time with God to get past my anger. Stewing about whatever it is will only make everything worse. Negative feelings and a bad attitude grow quickly and are highly contagious to everyone around me. Negativity needs to be diffused before it grows like wildfire.

Is my behavior pleasing to God?

Whether it’s deep-seated anger I’m dealing with, or a really bad day, I can work to control my behavior. Walking closely with God and considering what He thinks of my words and actions really helps. And it goes a long way in keeping myself out of trouble.

Anger is the easier route if that’s what you’re used to. It takes a conscious effort to make a course correction and then to keep walking on that new, unfamiliar path, but it can be done. 

In time, we become accustomed to a different way of doing things, and even when it’s still difficult, it is more familiar, and slightly more comfortable.

In Christ,
Laura 

[Photo credit: FreeImages.com]