6 Ways to Soften Your Rough Edge

Originally published Monday, 26 October 2015.

He was trying to talk using a "strong voice" not a whiny one. Harshness.
He was seeking to come home early to help me when I was sick. Harshness.
She was just speaking the truth of her heart. Harshness.
He opened up the door to pain that he could have hidden deep-down under layers of safety. Harshness.

My reaction, whether spoken through condemning words or condemning thoughts, no matter, led to the same destination. The place where they all say: by your accounts, we can't ever seem to win.

Is it even worth trying?

I can't blame them questioning. My squinty-eyed look, quick remarks, stand-offish lean and utter silence sets the stage for mean. It claims it not good enough, worthy enough or full enough, to meet my measure.

How did I become the tailor and maker of perfect standards that others must abide by?

I don't know how I have allowed, what I call "strong stances",
to take precedence over a stance of love?

Strong stances that say discipline triumphs the spirit of trying.
Strong stances that say others can't have down days.
Strong stances that receive opinions as insult and injury.
Strong stances that are threatened by other's heart-felt truths.
Strong stances that set rules so people abide by them.
Strong stances that only see progress and not the protagonist.

I tell myself I am compassionate, but when "push" comes to shove me in the face with a face that is threatening "happy," I tend to push back. I get insensitive. I get jerky. I get ways that I can justify right now. Stepping away from the moment, helps me see I can't really justify a heart that doesn't relate to pain, authenticity and vulnerability.

It doesn't really matter so much what my insecurities are. Because even when my emotions seem like a liability, the truth is I don't have to be consumed by my instability.

When others begin to sink, and we go with them,
there is no chance for us to be involved in God's great rescue.

When we react, rather than act in obedience to God's truth,
we exact damage on relationships.

When fear moves in to the home of our heart
to reminds us of our homes= of origin,
an alarm should sound telling us to evacuate these thoughts
and move to God's promises.

I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. Ps. 40:1-3

Notice the 6 step process here:

1. We wait patiently for God.
2. God hears our cry.
3. He lifts us out of the pit we are about to sink into.
4. He puts us on a protected rock where we can step with assurance and a clear mind.
5. He gives us a new song, new words, a new tone of voice, a heart of thanksgiving, a beat of joy.
6. Many see us and fear and choose the Lord too.

Rather than lashing out, we start waiting through. Waiting through so we can start pouring out the cries of our heart with a desire to hear his response that might not align with our original plans. This is it, for us. The rest is up to God.

I don't know about you, but this assures me. It takes some pressure off. I can do these two things. I can wait to speak. I can wait to respond. I can wait to think so much. I can wait to cry out. And, I can certainly cry when the time is right. I have that part covered; I can cry my heart out. I can do this.

And, God can too. In fact, he already did.

He did it on the cross. They waited 3 days. But, he heard the cries. His response? He lifted our feet onto the rock of eternally secure. He placed us, new creations, upon the only rock where we can continually draw from his ever-present glory. We almost can't help but sing new songs, redemption songs. As a result, many taste and see that the Lord is good; they want to bask in his glory too.

Glory to God. He is faithful.

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