Before I began blogging, I was disheartened by the lack of people who I could interact with, who pursued a genuine relationship with Christ and God. A rare gem, to discover another person who accepted the way I experienced God. I have a few gems in my life, luckily. Yet I always searched, yearning for more. I was blessed to stumble across many of you who fellowship with me in such a loving supportive way.
Before blogging I found many religious people who knew the scriptures inside and out, who called themselves “Born Again”, but after time they mostly wanted to argue their interpretation and seemed unable or unwilling to accept the personal relationship that I was developing with my Heavenly Father. They tried to direct my path with many different scriptures, expecting me to apply them to my current situation, instead of trusting God to reveal His Word and His Will to me as I walked by His side, under His direction.
Like many others, I found myself directed away from their rigid, graceless, control. I pulled back from their judgmental condemnation of my imperfections or my choices. I didn’t want to draw nearer, rather wanted to protect my fragile heart from their looks of disdain and disapproval as I confessed my daily struggles with the flesh.
How many of us have had people knock on our door, claiming to have the one right way to be saved, the only way, according to them? I have had many. The most recent wasn’t satisfied with my confession of love and devotion to God and His Son. He kept trying to trip me up with vague questions, ones which he had carefully selected the only answer he would accept. For every scripture he threw in my face I gave him back three to think on. Yet he was unwilling to accept me. I was standing in my own home being berated and dismissed by someone who claimed to be encouraging me towards God. Needless to say I informed him of this and sent him on his way with love….. No one has been back to encourage me since then.
Over the years I have begun to understand the reason many people can’t accept our daily walk under God’s direction, rather than under their control. I believe it is unfathomable to many, that we might know how to perceive God’s personal instructions. Simply because God has not revealed Himself to them or just because the are not at that stage of faith yet.
The scriptures often contradict each other much of the time, not every scripture applies to every situation. We must be humble and willing enough to let God use them inspirationally to show us His Will for each of us, at each stage of our lives.
No other human being, not one, knows what God has planned for us, except to say He is FOR us! Only we can discover His plan for us through our personal relationship with Him.
No human, not one, knows who God will show mercy and forgiveness to, or who He will reign down His wrath upon.
No human, not one, knows what actions God will choose to forgive and which He will condemn.
These privileges have not been given to us because we are not GOD, who sees into the hearts of His children, and anyone who claims to know these things is simply playing at being God.
The path is narrow, but your narrow path is not my narrow path, God is omnipotent enough to have designed a narrow path for each and every one of us, if we continue to seek it. He didn’t make just one plan and need to make every different amazingly created human to fit into it.
Enough is enough. If you find yourself using scriptures to make someone else feel unworthy and unloved then you may want to ask yourself if you have missed the whole lesson that Christ suffered horrendously to bring us.
Lately I have noticed that I am praying a lot for tolerance… Tolerance from others while I am at my worst, tolerance for others when I’m irritated by them, and tolerance in others when they need it.
Tolerance is defined, in the Miriam-Webster Online Dictionary as -
*Willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own.
*The ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant.
“Tolerance” … This word just seems to keep popping up all over conversations lately. Or is it only around me?
For most of my “pre-therapy” life, and before my Dad began to show me a new way, I used to have very little tolerance. If I thought you were out of line I would call you on it straight away, no grace, no compassion, no self-awareness. I was young, defensive, and quite honestly, very insecure. It made me feel better about myself, if I came across faults in others. I notice this is very common practice in many people.
When my Dad taught me about grace, he made me try to find excuses for all types of behaviours which I regularly found unacceptable. He tried to get me to step out from who I am, what I know, what I think, and see any situation from another perspective. It helped me begin to give grace to others for things I would usually get annoyed at. This didn’t only help others feel more comfortable around me, it also made me feel more comfortable in situations that would usually irritate me. That’s the thing about tolerance, it works both ways. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being irritated or blindly irritating others, so this was such a blessed lesson for me.
After years of therapy and faith, I have noticed something valuable that I want to share with you….
The more I love and accept myself, the more I work on being my best self, the more tolerance I have for my imperfections, then the more I seem to create a buffer of tolerance around me.
I began to notice more and more, that the small annoying imperfections of others generally roll off my back. I no longer go about continuously and harshly judging others because I know how hard it can be to get things right all the time. Snide remarks don’t always make me feel like I must respond and put them back in their place. The criticisms of others don’t always make me defend myself by trying to make them change their mind about me. Almost like a big cushion softening the blows that would normally have me reeling in despair and reacting with aggression. Life has taught me about grace. How greatly we need it ourselves when we are at our worst. How genuinely we can give it when others are at their worst.
Having greater tolerance doesn’t mean you permit others to treat you badly or make you feel bad about yourself. It is that you are less effected by their ill-treatment or irritating behaviour. It doesn’t bother you as much as it does when your level of tolerance is low. What it does give you, is a more stable platform from which you can decide when someone’s behaviour has crossed a line, rather than reacting irrationally out of intolerance. Then you can set a boundary in place to protect yourself, before their behaviour begins to effect you in an extremely negative way.
There is only so much tolerance we can have when we are exposed to nastiness, abuse, and attack. We may tolerate these things for a period of time, but once you stand firmly on a foundation of self-acceptance and put up that boundary, you are stating to those around you that you will not tolerate being treated in a way that lacks decency.
I believe it is important for people to own their actions. Setting in place a boundary, gives you a place of protection until they are willing to own up to their mistreatment of you and repair any damage. Some will, and many won’t, but at least you won’t spend your days being in a state of irritated intolerance. You may even be able to move forward with peace…..
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for tolerance. Help us all come to understand your grace and build up your truths in our hearts and minds. Help us accept ourselves as your wonderfully made creations, and help us increase the amount of tolerance in our lives. Let us know your instructions clearly when it is time to set up a boundary, and give us security in your strength and protection. In Yeshua’s Mighty Name, I pray.
I'm not going to lie to you, It has been a tough couple of weeks. It took a lot of pouring out my faith to write (and publish) the series 'Gaining Help from Above'. Draining my faith like that often leaves me vulnerable, I want to withdraw, to protect my exposed soul. If I engage too deeply with another I am often touchy and defensive.
Some thoughts to ponder as we venture towards the end of this current series…..
I wonder what marvels God would bring into our lives, if we ceased taking credit for our accomplishments or talents, if we stopped overlooking God's input in an opportunity or a blessing, if we stopped giving His glory to all other things? Or if we refused to doubt God during times of struggle.
One of the main reasons we miss out on experiencing the presence of God in our lives is because our thoughts are too consumed by the physical world. We focus on our material comforts, our desires, our careers, our families, our looks, our fun or our reputation. These are the 'beautiful things' placed before the throne of God by the enemy, to distract us from pursuing righteousness.
Nourishment is defined as - "The substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition."
This is probably the most obvious post, which many of you knew was coming in this series. The word of God is immeasurable nourishment for achieving a healthy heart and building a relationship with the Almighty. Unfortunately it has been known to fall into the wrong hands, it has been misused as a tool to condemn, judge, and control way too many people over the years.
When I was a young single Mum, before I began deepening my relationship with God, I found myself bouncing from one relationship to another. I was hunting desperately for that one man who would fulfill my dreams of a united family, and a stable home for me and my daughter, a nice yard with a fence where she could play, and maybe a dog.
Right back to my youngest memory, the theme of my life seemed to revolve around a panicked hunger for security. I have mentioned in earlier posts that I was very fearful in my youth, that I sucked my thumb until I was an adult, but I haven't yet written about my security blanket. A pillowcase in fact.
There was no chance, no how, no way for me to go to sleep without it, EVER!
This is the second post in the series 'Gaining Help from Above', please check out the introduction post if you haven't already.
Accepting an encounter with God, changes not only our level of faith and our perspective in many areas of life. It is the first element in the foundation of our relationship with Him. This is vital if our faith is going to stand against the many trials it is sure to endure, right up until we reach the potential that God has in store for us.
Don't you just love how a new connection with someone can bring some clarity and meaning to your world? I have made many wonderful new connections in the Blogosphere and I am so grateful for you all. For the first time in my faith walk I feel more connected to the (too often divided) 'Body of Christ' than I had been able to perceive before.