Being Supportive Without Getting Involved

“But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  Galatians 5:15-16

When I hear of people going through painful situations, I want to be helpful and supportive.  I want to listen and give some sort of advice or encouragement, if wanted.  Sometimes when people are venting, more information gets shared than necessary, such as gossip or slander.  It is a dangerous road to travel.

On my side of the family, I encountered such the episode.  I received a call from one family member and she was upset and crying.  She went on for an hour about all the problems her spouse was giving her.  She berated him and I could feel she was wanting me to join her in her beliefs.  It was difficult to listen when I have a close relationship with that person she was having problems with.

The very next day, I received a phone call from the spouse calling to complain about their problems with the one who called me yesterday.  He went on to describe in detail what was happening.  I felt so uncomfortable, I stopped him in mid-sentence and said,

“This is inappropriate for me to listen anymore.  I can no longer take part in listening to issues with your marriage.  Please find help.  I will continue to pray for you and her.”

There are some thing to get involved with, but some things that are absolutely off-limits.  Gossip and slander are so hurtful.  I know it is so easy when venting for me to paint a negative picture of people hurting me.   But when I make up with them, the people I confided with in these issues will wonder why I am still continuing that relationship(s).  They get a negative picture of them and that is all they see even when you get past the current hiccup.

I felt God tell me, pray but stay out of it.  I even heard it from a third-party person too.  They said, “I know you are trying to help, but STAY out of this!”  It will be hard, but it needs to be their burden to bare.

Lesson Learned: Pray for other always, but don’t get too involved in things that are none of your business.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for knowing all things we go through.  Help me to be an encourager and listener to those in need.  But let me have boundaries that protect me and others.  Give me discernment to know when to be involved or just be an ear to hear.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Everyday is a good day because I know Jesus!

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.” Psalms 23:1

The Holiday Season is in full swing, so I should feel joyful and love.  Instead, I want to avoid everyone and everything.  I am feeling very grinch-like, not to mention sick with an ear infection.  All I see are problems and people’s rudeness.  The invite to my pity-party should be arriving to you all shortly.

The last couple of weeks, felt like one bad day after another.  I donated a goat to World Vision and thought that would lift my spirits.  But instead, I saw more causes to donate to and how I don’t have enough money in the world to fix them all.  

Another day in the building I work in, I held the door open for 5 different people.  Not one thank you.  Instead, I got bumped into by 2 of the individuals and completely ignored by all of them.  

Really?  I thought the holidays brought out the niceness (fake as it may be) in everybody.  

To top it all off, I saw a customer at Target, swear and belittle an employee over something the customer misunderstood.  He got personal and nasty.  It was horrid.  My daughter heard every word.  I wanted to hug that employee and punch the customer.  But instead, I remained complacent and got more sad.

It is hard to feel any joy at all when times are difficult and uncertain.  During clean up time for my home, I was folding a blanket and I cried out to the Lord.  

I said, “Jesus…please come back now.  I know I am more fortunate than others, but really…these days are difficult for so many, it is so overwhelming.”  Then a beautiful thought crossed my mind…

“Everyday is a good day, because I know Jesus!”

Even if the day seems bad all the way around, there is something in that day to be grateful.  I may not have had one good thing happen all day, but I know Jesus and He is my Savior.  He knows all I go through and God is a good, good Father.

It is perfect timing that the New Year is coming…it is time for a good reset.  That is something Minimalism has taught me.  Clear out in my life the things that are holding me back and not living the way God has for me.   

So, when I get in the car today, I will turn on that all day long Christmas song playing radio station and sing it loud, even if “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” is in my head.

Lesson Learned:  I am thankful everyday because I know Jesus.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I am thankful that I know you.  Thank you Jesus, for being my personal Lord and Savior.  Thank you for all that you have blessed me with and carried me through.  Lord, let your love pour over this world.  Let people know, you Father God are all we need.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Trying to Fit In Can Hurt Instead

“You are the Light of the World, like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14

School.  If you look and act like everybody else, you won’t stand out and be weird.  You cannot be who God truly wants for you.  My daughter is 9 years old.  I can see already by her shopping choices that it is the same as her friends.  Recently she wanted something that she believed she needed.  However, it would have harmed her permanently if no one caught it.

My daughter and I went to the optometrist for our annual eye exams.  Thankfully, I still have 20/20 vision.  My eyes get tired and vision is a little blurry when I look at a computer screen for an extended period of time, so I wear glasses while at the computer.  

My daughter asked, “Will I be getting glasses like some of my friends?”  

I said, “I hope not, you don’t know how fortunate you are to not have to wear them.”  

She didn’t seem to thrilled by my answer.

I did my exam first and then my daughter.  The optometrist, Dr. Jones, asked her to read the last line that appeared clear to her on the chart.  She began reading the 20/50 line.  I thought, she was doing this on purpose.  She continued to read and squint while she tested.  The doctor asked her to read the lines below the 20/50.  And wouldn’t you know, she was reading them just fine.  Dr. Jones held up two little glass circles over my child’s eyes and asked her if she could see better through them.  My child exclaimed, “Yes!  Much better!”

Dr. Jones told her to stay seated while she spoke to me about insurance.  We stepped out of the room and she asked me, “Does she have friends with glasses?” I smiled and I nodded.

“Well, those little glasses I held up had no prescription in them.  I have seen this many times. Her vision is great.” said Dr. Jones.

We walked back in and she told her how she didn’t need glasses, but to keep seeing her every year.  My child, looked so disappointed.  I was trying not to laugh.

When we got home, we told my husband what happened.  I mention to him about the fake glasses and my daughter’s eyes got huge, realizing she got caught in the lie.  My husband explained to her that she could severely damage her eyesight wearing glasses when she didn’t need them.  

I told her, “I know your friends wear glasses and braces and you may feel left out because you do not need them.  But consider you extremely blessed to not need them now.  This is not a reason to fit in.”  

I realized in that moment, how often we all try to do this.  Here are some examples of this behavior: buying the newest tech gadget, play the new game on our phones (I don’t do this one) or watch the same entertainment shows and talk about them.  There is nothing wrong with having similar interests, but only if we truly like them.  

Being a Christian is definitely living a way that doesn’t fit into the norm.  With my faith, there are things I chose to not do so I don’t fit into with the world.  It is okay to not follow the world or trends just to be like everyone else.

I asked my daughter if she understood about how she doesn’t need to fit in.  She replied, “Can I wear two different earrings to school tomorrow?”  I think she got it.

Lesson Learned: The world needs individuals not conformists.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for not embracing who I truly am.  Thank you for all the things that make me different.  Give me the confidence to live as I am.  Spark creativity and new interests.  Thank Father!  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Putting the Toothpaste (Words) Back in the Tube (Mouth)

“Death and Life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat of its fruits.”  Proverbs 18:21

Children can sometimes be too honest for their own good.  We want them to tell the truth, but only when they collect all the facts and are familiar with the situation.  Many times, children want to be involved in the conversations we have with others.  And many times, children lack impulse control and say something that makes you want to crawl in a hole and wait until the smoke clears.  

We invited my daughter’s friend over for lunch and a playdate during Thanksgiving Break.  My daughter was so excited to have her best friend over at our house.  When my daughter has a friend over, she wants to show off and talk about all the things that go on in the house.  

We were driving up our street when my daughter says, “My daddy may be asleep in his underwear, so don’t look.”  Thank God I was the only one driving on our street because I stopped in the middle of it.  Nervously, I said to my daughter’s friend, “I can assure you that won’t be happening.”  

I thought about it and knew exactly why she said that.  When our daughter wants to come into our bedroom in the morning, we have to make sure we are decent.  One time, I told her that she needed to wait because daddy needed to get dressed for work.  I didn’t further explain anything but I guess she assumed he was always in his underwear.

I told my husband what happened.  He was mortified.  I told him about the toothpaste story.  He usually rolls his eyes when I tell him these stories I read on Facebook, but this time he offered his travel toothpaste as the example.

After her friend went home, I told her we needed to talk about what she said in the car.  I had her sit down at the table and told her to squeeze out all of the toothpaste.  She looked at me with a quizzical look and starts to squeeze it all out.  She smiled as she made a pile of toothpaste on the napkin.  When she was done, I asked her to put the toothpaste back in the tube.  She asked, “How can I do that?”  I replied, “Because you can’t, right?”  I told her when we speak, we can never fully take back what we say.  Even if we were wrong in what we say and we apologize, people still remember and wonder if they can trust us again.

I explained to her that what she said in the car was not something you talk about with people.  And sometimes people look for opportunities to use the words that we say as a way to get us in trouble.  My husband told her that this also goes for sharing personal information with people.  One day we can be friends and then in a few years the friendship ends and they have all of this information about you that they can now talk about behind your back.

Our daughter apologized.  I think she overwhelmed by the lesson but she got the message.  I realized I have squeezed out the toothpaste once too many times myself.  These past few months with the U.S. Election process a lot of people have shared their comments and opinions on social media and have squeezed out all of the toothpaste.  I have heard people say they blocked or unfriended people because of some horrible comment.  They may never speak with them again.   Was it really worth it?

I told our daughter, if I hear her start to say something she should not, I will gently tell her “toothpaste”  and that will be her clue to stop.  I think we all need that reminder!  Words we say truly do have the power of life and death.   

Lesson Learned:  “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” I think that’s how it goes and you can keep all of your toothpaste too.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for speaking out of line and hurting others.  Gently remind me when the “toothpaste” is being squeezed out.  Holy Spirit give the right words to say to encourage or help others when they need it.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”