My heart is so overwhelmed today. Actually, it has been for months. I have done my best to focus on all of the good, awesome, incredible things God has done for me and my family, yet none of these things can wipe away the hurt and sadness I feel. Thankfully, God has kept me balanced, and I am able to stay encouraged through it all. My hope is in Yahweh, and though in the years past I used to allow discouragement to cloud my view and darken my heart, I know who I am in Christ. Who am I in Christ does allow me to be sad, though, and it does allow me to cry when I hurt. I am grateful God cares about these tears.
There has been too much criticism in my world. Is it just me? Am I the only one that hears and sees so much negativity coming from people that bear the name of Jesus and from people that say they love me? A person can only take so much before it starts to wear the spirit down. This is not what God wants from us. This is not the attitude or speech that He wants coming from His kingdom. I know I am guilty of it, just as well as the next person. I am convicted myself of having had a critical spirit from time to time. It is something we need to keep in check. But, wow! These last few months I have felt like I need to be on the defense 24/7 for every single aspect of my life and my husband’s life. It is incredibly exhausting and discouraging. I am not a perfect person. Who is? I have much to learn and so many ways I need to grow in the Lord. I am sold out for Him and I desire the best for His kingdom. I love my family with all my heart, and I want the best for every member of it. I would venture to say this is true of so many people I know. Yet sometimes, we just do not show it well. Sometimes our defense mechanisms and pride make it difficult to see….and cause us to make bad choices….or less than optimal choices.
The truth is, we each have our own perspectives and opinions. Even when serving the Lord, we are not going to agree on how tasks need to get done or even what tasks are most important. So many of us could argue day in and day out. To what end?!? It is really worth it? I can think of quite a few times in my life where I wish I had just kept my mouth shut. What good did my complaining or criticizing really do for the situation? I have been wanting to blog about this for so long, but I have kept my fingers silent solely because I didn’t want to add to the pandemonium. However, today I reached my limit. I do not think it unwise to point out that we are too critical of each other. I don’t want to complain. I know it won’t do any good. I cannot change someone who does not want to change. And sometimes people are so wrapped in their own perspectives and opinions to consider anything else. But, friends and family, what good is there in ripping a person a part? How can it be helpful or edifying to gossip and complain about each other? It is so easy to do. Don’t I know it! Again, so many times I wish I myself had kept my mouth shut. The tongue is dangerous. In James, it is so clearly explained the damage the tongue can do. Yet, too often we ignore the warnings.
We each will have to answer to our Creator in the end. Too many times we don’t have all the information before we make judgments. Too many times we will not agree. I don’t care if we serve the same God, we all serve Him differently…and what is important to you may not be important to me. My priorities may not be yours. My highest priority right now is my family. Our kids will get bigger, Imogen’s immune system will get better, and eventually my husband and I will have more time to do the kinds of work and service that is important for the community and church and our family.
Can we just put aside our petty differences and show love? Is it really necessary to pick a person a part and think the worst of him or her? Let us live the way God desires and uplift each other. Stop the gossip. Stop the nit picking. Stop the judgments. Stop the criticizing. Let us look at one another through God’s eyes with compassion and grace….and love each other by encouraging, praying, and serving one another. We will fail some of the time, but friends, can we not strive for better?
I need it right now. My family needs it right now. I bet yours does too.
Grateful that God guards my heart, or I would not survive this emotionally. I pray He guards yours too. Psalms 56 has been my encouragement. May it be yours too in times of criticism.
Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up;
Fighting all day he oppresses me.
2 My enemies would hound me all day,
For there are many who fight against me, O Most High.
3 Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
4 In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me?
5 All day they twist my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
6 They gather together,
They hide, they mark my steps,
When they lie in wait for my life.
7 Shall they escape by iniquity?
In anger cast down the peoples, O God!
8 You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
9 When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.
10 In God (I will praise His word),
In the Lord (I will praise His word),
11 In God I have put my trust;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
12 Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God;
I will render praises to You,
13 For You have delivered my soul from death.
Have You not kept my feet from falling,
That I may walk before God
In the light of the living?