Originally published Monday, 15 July 2013.
Sometimes, you need to give yourself permission for peace.
I'm letting you know right now this post is going to rock your world. I may get vulgar and you might not like it. But that's what we do when we transition. Isn't it?
We get rude.
In your face.
At first we think it's our right. We were the ones wronged.
What happens when that apology we're waiting for never comes?
I can't tell you how frustrated life's challenges have been in my life to the point where I refused to stay silent--and I'm the one who got burned. What the?
#1. Like that time my former coworker tried to force himself on me and didn't stop when I said no--and I'm the one who got in trouble at work for reporting him.
#2. Like that time my roommates were so messy that I paid double rent just to move out immediately--and I had to leave the church we all attended because it was so awkward.
#3. Like that time my coworker acted inappropriately towards our boss at a Christian company--and I quit my job and moved back in with my parents.
#4. Like that time my guy friend acted like he liked me and then started dating someone else--the only girl I confided in about him.
One of my favorite movies is "The Wedding Date." Debra Messing's character is told that she has the exact love life she wants. Her face says it all. "You THINK I want to be this unhappy and miserable?" Well, yeah! That taught me a lesson or two. Just because I felt in the right, didn't give me permission to give others the middle finger. That is when I needed peace the most.
"There will be times when we have to defend ourselves. When those times occur, let's be sure we don't confuse our job description with God's job description. He is the consuming fire; we are not" (One Year Alone with God, Ava Pennington).
Going back to #1. After I quit my job God brought me into a place of abundance. Because that experience was so humiliating I ended up writing again. I started blogging. Most of the pages to Faithbook of Jesus, my first book, were from those few years of asking God where the heck was he was.
Going back to #2. God restored my relationships, although not to the point where they were--but it gave me permission to find a roommate that suited my needs at the moment. I wrote Faithbook of Jesus there, and I couldn't have done it without my roommate.
Going back to #3. I am only responsible for my actions. I am only responsible for my actions. It took me months of therapy, disability classes, and anxiety meds for me to see that I was the one in error. God wanted me at that moment in time to leave room for faith and start writing full time as my ministry.
Going back to #4. I am not proud of how I handled that situation at all. It was the first time that I had the guts to give someone piece of my mind--to their faces. Still, I felt awful for my actions. After I apologized and calmed down, God used their prayers to bring the most amazing man into my life almost immediately--my husband.
Often times when God wants to transition our lives is when we're most vulnerable to attacks of the enemy.
Satan knows how to push our buttons. He knows our weaknesses. God is patient and waits for us. If you're in the middle of transition and struggling with playing the blame game, here is a chart to keep you on the right path for peace.
Common Signs of Bitterness
1. Gossip and Slander. "See to it that no one comes short to the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled..." (Hebrews 12:15-17)
2. Ungrateful and Complaining. "Do all things without grumbling or disputing..." (Philippians 2:14)
3. Judges Motives. "Therefore do not go on passing judgement before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God." (1 Corinthians 4:5, emphasis added)
4. Self-Centered. "...do not merely look out for your own personal interests..." (Philippians 2:4)
5. Excessive Sorrow. "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart" (John 16:6)
6. Vengeful. "Never pay back evil for evil to anyone...Never take your own personal revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God..." (Romans 12:17, 19)
7. Brooding. "Love does not take into account a wrong suffered" (1 Corinthians 13:5).
8. Loss of Joy. "And I shall delight in Thy commandments which I love" (Psalm 119:47).
9. A Critical, Judgmental Attitude. "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:5). (Taken from The Excellent Wife, Martha Peace)
The next time you find yourself in a rough transition remember there is always room for peace.
[Picture taken by Nathan Colwell]