Finding God When I Feel Mean

By Heidi McLaughlin:

When I feel mean, seeking and finding God can help change my attitude.

Here are 5 tips to help you do just that… plus a bit of humor from Igniter Media.

 

Stock photo by ecerroni

Stock image by ecerroni

I know we all want to be nice so that people will like us. Sadly there are days when our feet hit the floor we can’t wait to rip someone’s head off and let them know how they made us “so mad.” What makes us so mean?

I believe that many of us are mean because we have been hurt, or use it for power to control people and events, we feel threatened, or we are too afraid to stand up for ourselves and it makes us angry and resentful. Then we become mean.

Lynne Hybels is the author of Nice Girls Don’t Change the World  and she became mean to herself and bottled it inside of herself.  Lynne was so nice that she tried to become everything her husband, her children, her church and the world wanted her to be. As a matter of fact she was so nice that it made her lose herself, her purpose and it drove her to deep hopelessness and depression.

When she stopped to find out who she really was, not the niceness of what the world expected her to be, she became free and a dangerously beautiful spiritual woman. She became who God created her to be, not who her husband and family wanted her to be. She became bold and courageous, and is changing the world in Africa by helping the Aids orphans.

We have the ability to be mean to others, but even more often, we are mean to ourselves. By being nice out of obligation, and through covering up our own pain, feelings and desires, we sabotage our freedom to be who God created us to be.

I believe there is a balance between mean and nice, and that is called “GRACE”. Accepting ourselves for who God created us to be, and accepting His grace for all the bad stuff that has happened in our lives.  So how do we do that?

ARRET (STOP!) and ACCEPT God’s Grace:

  1. ACCEPT our angry, hurtful feelings. As author Rick Warren says, “Revealing our feelings is the beginning of healing.”
  2. ROOT to fruit. Agree to look back at the words or events that made you mad, hurt you or threatened you. This is probably the root of your meanness.
  3. RELEASE the people or circumstances that have hurt you. Forgive them. No one can be perfect and no one is the Savior of our life other than God.   We all hurt people and we must forgive and release those who have hurt us.
  4. EMBRACE yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others and diminish who God made you to be. When we compare we begin to criticize, and then compete.  That makes us ugly and mean.
  5. TRUTH.  Go to God’s word (the Bible) and find the truth about who you really are. The truth is that you are nice, lovable and delightful. Some of the things that have happened to you have made you mad. God can replace and restore all your hurt and wounds and set you free to be nice and lovable.

I choose to be the kind of woman that is nice and beautiful from the inside out; beautifully, spiritually dangerous to do something meaningful and helpful to God’s Kingdom here on earth. I can be that woman if I follow those five simple, outrageously difficult steps.

© Heidi McLaughlin. For over two decades Heidi has taught women how to become “beautiful from the inside out”, applying God’s powerful truths via bible studies, mentoring, and Heidi’s own poignant stories.  Visit Heidi at www.heartconnection.ca, or  her blog. Follow Heidi on Twitter: @heidiheart

Enjoy this video about not being mean to your spouse: The Don’t Song, from Igniter Media.

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Finding God on a Double Decker Bus in London

By Karen O’Connor:

I’m finding that God leads me best and there’s no need to panic — on a double decker bus or elsewhere — when I allow Him to take the wheel.

 

This London double decker bus is enclosed on top--but also has no driver.  ;-)

This London double decker bus is enclosed on top–but also has no driver. ;-)

What fun it was for Amy to be invited to lead women’s groups to London on a tour of tearooms. Not only was she tickled to have this opportunity—something she felt God had planted in her mind years before­­––but she enjoyed being with a group of women who had never been on such a trip before.Their laughter and exclamations made all the preparation worthwhile. For many this was a vacation of a lifetime. Little did she or I, when I toured the city, dream of finding God on a double-decker bus in London.

Amy recalled with a smile the first group she took. “None of the ladies had been to England before so everything was new and they were like little kids, taking in the sights and sounds as though they were at an amusement park.”

That is, until something happened that set her back.

One afternoon, the women had gathered at the street curb, eager for their first ride on one of the double deckers. “As we boarded the bus,” said Amy, “most of the gals decided to sit downstairs to be out of the damp weather and to protect their hair from the wind. A few, however, were brave enough to sit on the top deck. I split my time between both so neither group would feel left out. I wanted to be certain everyone heard what I had to say.

The women downstairs were attentive and happy and asked observant questions. When Amy walked up the stairs to speak to those on the upper level, however, she noticed some passengers sitting like soldiers on alert. Not a word was spoken and most of them clutched the seats in front of them. It appeared to be a white knuckle ride!

“Is anything wrong?” Amy asked. “We’re having a great time downstairs, but you don’t appear to be enjoying yourselves.”

One of the ladies looked up with a touch of fear in her eyes. “Well,” she said, in a small voice, “that’s because you have a driver!”

This cute story reminds me of how often I try to white-knuckle my way through life without a driver. But I don’t have to live this way. God will lead me if I’m willing to turn the wheel over to him and then relax for the long ride through life. Here is what he promises in the Bible.

God will show me the path of life. (Psalm 16:11)

God will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye. (Psalm 32:8)

I hear Jesus’ voice and He calls me by name and leads me out. Jesus goes before me and I follow him, for I know his voice. I will by no means follow a stranger. (John 10:3-5)

You too can find God in your life, whether you ride on a double decker bus in London or stay in your own neighborhood. We all need and want a ‘driver’ to direct our paths and show us the way through the streets of life, safe and secure in the only one who knows what is best for us—our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Find out more about Jesus and what he teaches by digging into a Christian bible. Look here for help. www.biblegateway.com.

And for a bit of fun related to double decker buses, view this YouTube video showing a double decker bus in London doing push-ups as a promotion for the 2012 London Olympics.

          

©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com, on Facebook or follow on Twitter: @karenoconnor  

 

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Finding God in a Burnt Turkey

By Martha Bolton:

We can end up finding God in all kinds of strange things…even a burnt turkey.

 

Turkey memorial

Turkey Memorial

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best cook in the world. You’ll never see my recipes on the Food Network (although, Home Depot might be moved to display a few of them in their lumber aisle).

My biggest problem is with my timing. I put the food on the stove or in the oven, and then I get distracted. A TV show catches my eye, I need to finish something on the computer, I go on vacation…

What happened one Christmas some years ago was not the result of any of that, though. It was an innocent mistake.

Mark Lowry had given my family and I a smoked turkey for Christmas. Now, I don’t recall ever serving anything “smoked” before, other than maybe brownies (smoked, smoldering, what’s the difference?)

So I wasn’t quite sure how to prepare the gifted holiday bird. I had no idea that the term “smoked” meant that it had already been cooked.  Remembering that my mother always placed the turkey into the oven at night and then cooked it until the next day, I decided to do the same. I laid the bird in a pan, wrapped aluminum foil over it, and then baked it at 350-degrees until I served it the next day for the Christmas meal. It smelled delicious. That smokey aroma filled the entire house.  My dinner guests, which included a professional chef, were sure to be impressed.

But when I pulled back the aluminum foil, I was aghast to see that the turkey was as black as coal, and the meat of its drumsticks had shrunken down, exposing several inches of bone.  If you stood the poor thing up on its legs, it would’ve looked like a Cornish hen on stilts.

Mark almost cried, citing that it was the best tasting turkey in the country and I had turned it into turkey jerkey.

Luckily, I had also prepared a ham which I had only baked a few hours, so the dinner wasn’t a total disaster.

But I learned something that day about the importance of timing, the futility of trying to impress others, and how God can turn our mishaps into opportunity.

God has his perfect timing.  It was in his perfect timing that the first Christmas happened in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago.

That babe, who left heaven to sleep on a bed of hay, didn’t worry about impressing others, either.  The one who humbly and obediently traded a throne for a manger of wood didn’t think about what others would say about him.

And God can turn even burnt turkey into opportunities:  The opportunity to learn from my mishap—I now read the instructions on food gifts before incinerating them.  I also know that watching someone’s actions at a particular moment does not always give the whole story.  Mom put the turkey in the oven at night, but what I didn’t realize is that she got up in the middle of the night to take it out of the oven when it was done and then put it in the refrigerator.  She was simply reheating it in the morning.

So look for God to show up at your Christmas gathering this year.  He’ll be there.  In ways you might not even realize.  Even in a burnt turkey.

©Martha Bolton. Martha has written for many well-known comedians including Bob Hope, and also is a musical screenplay writer and book author  and parody lyric writer. Find out more about Martha at marthabolton.com. According to Martha, “Life’s tough. God’s good. And laughter’s calorie-free!”

We are excited to welcome Martha to our Finding God Daily team, to inject more humor and wisdom into our blog! In the video below, meet Martha as she shares her recent works on Amish musicals and fiction, including Josiah for President, and describes what it was like working closely with comedian Bob Hope for over fifteen years:

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