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Emotions

How To Smile When You Know The Best Advice Was Ditched

Have you been a parent? Or have you mentored and taught skills to someone else in any capacity? You have? Perfect! This encouragement is for you!

People don’t always agree on what constitutes good advice. It can be discouraging when you take time to teach someone something important to you and they decide to do it differently. Hopefully after reading this post, you will understand how to smile when you know the best advice was ditched.

We strive to give our best advice

I remember when my mom was confronted with the reality that, as a mom myself, I didn’t do laundry the way she taught me. I think she was disappointed. I felt like I’d let her down. She had taught me the way she thought was the absolute best, but I did it (and taught my kids) differently.

I have been thinking about that lately because my grown children do so many things differently than the way they were taught. It stings. At first, I thought I was disappointed in them for disregarding what they’d learned from me. But ultimately, when I correctly identified the basis for my feelings, I was disappointed with me. I felt like I must not have advised them well enough.

Are you tracking with me? Does someone in your life do their laundry differently, so to speak? It could apply to any skill. Maybe you think I’m silly. Is it different if, instead of a skill, it is a mindset?

Two people reading the Bible: How To Smile When You Know The Best Advice Was Ditched
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com
When God gives us a platform, we do our best to use it for His glory!

What if your prodigy makes decisions based on different principles? Or lives according to an alternate worldview? Or chooses another religion? Or substitute anything important to you, which you genuinely tried (and expected) to pass on. What then?

What do we do when our best advice is ditched?

Disappointment is exhausting. I recently tired of it and prayed that God would help me ditch it. My kids doing the chores differently (or not doing them at all!) only bothers me when it happens under my roof. I don’t have much emotion tied to how they choose to do those things in their own homes.

But there are things that I really believe, down to the tippy tips of my toes, will affect their quality of life. Those things are faith, finances, and friends. When I see my kids making [what I consider to be] foolish choices in those areas, it hits me in the gut.

What are those deep-seeded areas of importance for you? Do you have things that are most-important in what you are trying to impart to someone else? How do you feel when they reject it?

God has encouraged me threefold in this arena and I wanted to share it because I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:6, 7

This is how to smile when you know the best advice was ditched.

Consider this:

  1. If you have diligently taught, you have done your part. Your job is to impart what you believe and why. If someone can explain it back to you – even if they don’t agree or choose to live by it, you have taught them well.
  2. If you have walked the talk, you have done your part. It is important to tell someone what you believe, but as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. If you have been an example of actions consistent with your words, you have modeled well. (see 3 Reasons Why “Well Done” is better than “Well said”)
  3. If you have taught someone to use critical thinking, you have done your part. If you don’t want your protégé to be unduly influenced by others, you must accept that they might not follow your ideas either. If those under your tutelage have learned to examine their world and make informed decisions, you have done well.

There are many ways to accomplish tasks, and most are not moral issues. Behavior and belief can be weightier. But if you have done the above three things, you have done well. If you are still concerned when your part is done, pray for them. It is between them and God now.

If someone knows where you stand on an issue, and they know why, and they intentionally choose differently, do not be disappointed in yourself. Leave it to the Lord. Do your best and commit the rest!

If you notice someone has ditched your best advice, do not nag or harp on the issue. Offer your opinion when it is wanted but otherwise, take your words on the matter to your Heavenly Father. Let Him speak to your loved one. His words have power and the benefit of perfect timing.

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”

2 Timothy 2:24

If you have taught, modeled, and encouraged good decision making, you can smile, even if you know the advice was ditched. You have done your part. You have done well.

When we look back, I’m sure we can all identify areas where we do not feel like we did our best to give good advice. More than ever, these things should be given to God. He might give us a do-over. But even if not, He loves people more than we do and can make up for any deficit they experience because of us.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

Tell me, what best advice have you given only to have it loosely followed or ditched altogether? Did you feel disappointed? Can you give it over to God and let Him encourage your heart on the matter today?

If you’d like more encouragement on this subject, read Why I Trust God Enough to Contentedly Let Go and Let Glow

Categories
Devotions

Settle the Most Urgent Distractions Now

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”

Psalm 68:19

No matter what time I do my ‘quiet time’ with Jesus, it is the most chaotic time of day.  The phone chimes, the kids need help, and my brain suddenly remembers something urgent.  I have learned to write the distractions down, getting them out of my head so my mind can be still. 

I believe God wants me to treat each day like quiet time.  When I begin to worry about some future event, I will take a small immediate action to put my mind to rest.  That might mean saying a quick prayer to release the stress to God.  Sometimes it may be a more hands-on task, such as stashing a few dollars away or doing some research to inform myself about a scary unknown.  

I have what I need for today.  I will do what I can to prepare for tomorrow, knowing that when tomorrow becomes today, God will bear any burden that remains.   

How about you? Is there anything occupying your thoughts and disturbing your peace? What can you quickly do to settle the urgent distractions now?

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Devotions

There is Something Amazing in the Sinking

“Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. ‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ he said.”

Matthew 14:25, 28, 29a

Oh, these verses hit me in the gut!  Here’s why: Peter manipulated this call.  It was his idea. 

He saw Jesus doing something miraculous. He wanted in. More likely, he wanted out. He wanted out of the boat, out of the physical world constraints to which he was subject. He secured his invitation.

“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’”

Matthew 14:29b, 30

There is something amazing in the sinking, a nugget for you and for me.

Let’s back up a little. The verses prior to these explain that the disciples were in the boat because Jesus had plans on the other side of the lake. He had sent them ahead while He stayed behind to finish after a prior engagement. And before He joined them, He went off, alone, to pray.

The disciples had quite a head start across the lake. The wind whipped up and the water got choppy. My version of the Bible says the boat was “buffeted” by the waves.

buf·fet; verb
past tense: buffeted
1. (especially of wind or waves) strike repeatedly and violently; batter.
2. knock (someone) over or off course.

Dictionary.com

There they were, in a little boat in deep water, being buffeted. If I put myself there, I imagine hanging on for dear life, trying not to throw up. It does not sound unlike how life feels to me right now, but that is a point for a different post.

Jesus intended to catch up with them so they would arrive together on the other side. Do you think they wondered how He was going to do that? They were certainly not expecting Him to come walking out on the water.

“Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.”

Matthew 14:25, 26

Can you imagine? It would have been amazing on a calm lake, but this water was rough! It was a show of power indeed.

Peter wanted to walk in power too. (That is giving him the benefit of the doubt. My suspicious side thinks maybe he just wanted to do something cool. Either way…) He stepped out onto the lake, became afraid, and started sinking. Jesus immediately caught him and put him back into the boat. 

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”

Matthew 14:31-33

Jesus did not pull the disciples out of the storm and put them back, safely on the shore. He moved them forward. He calmed the storm and then saw them through to the other side.  Why?  Because crossing was God’s plan, His idea, His will. 

Peter, though, was plucked from the waves and returned to the boat from which he came. Jesus gave Peter a glimpse of what was possible, but there, in the middle of the lake, in the pre-dawn dark, more water-walking was not the miracle they needed.

Ferocious blue waves: There is Something Amazing in the Sinking
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Peter’s first thought was not to calm the waves, but to walk on them like Jesus did.

Peter was enthusiastic, but his timing was wrong. Miracles bring glory to God, not men. God was working. Jesus was calming waves. The buffeted boat was going to make it safely across and Peter was distracted by his own idea. He had to be put back in his place.

Peter’s ego was probably a bit worse for wear when he found himself back at square 1. But did this disqualify him from being part of what Jesus had planned? Not at all.

Jesus had something amazing to do on the other side of the lake. It was to heal the sick and save the lost. All the disciples, including Peter, got to be part of it.

“When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret. And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all who were ill to him and begged him to let those who were ill just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.”

Matthew 14:34-36

There is something amazing in the sinking of Peter that resonates with me. I recognize times where I have called myself into ministry. I saw Jesus doing something amazing, somewhere other than my area of responsibility, and asked Him to let me participate.

Ultimately, when I sought positions, as opposed to being called to them, I was chasing opportunities for my own glory. Whether I wanted to appear useful in the Kingdom of God, feel gifted for service, or whatever my reasons, they were about me.

When it became apparent that my ideas were a distraction from what God had asked me to do, my efforts tanked and I sank. Jesus had to grab hold of me and set me back where I started. 

A boat safely moored and in calm water: There is Something Amazing in the Sinking
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I need to stay in the boat God puts me in until He calls me out.

Jesus, the ultimate Life Guard, has always rescued me. In his grace, He has allowed me to get back on board with His amazing agenda, even after distractions and failures. I can say, there is nothing like sinking to remind me to ride contentedly in the boat I am given to the shores God has in store for me.

Lord, You are so good! Please forgive me for every time I’ve stepped out into situations for which you hadn’t prepared or called me. You are faithful to rescue and restore with such patience! I do not want You to have to keep returning me to square one. I want to progress in doing Your will, in Your time, and for Your glory. Oh Lord, your agenda, not mine!

Categories
Reflections

How to Outwit The Obnoxious Old Foe

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.”

Luke 4:1

Jesus knew how to outwit the obnoxious old foe.

He went to persist against the devil so I could resist in His name.

He faced evil so I could flee from it.

He won so I could run.

Satan whispers that its ok to play with temptation, so long as I don’t succumb. But he is the enemy and is already overcome. It is not for me to stay and struggle or fight a finished fight.

Jesus – the winner, gave me – a sinner, the victory over evil.

I’m qualified to call Satan disqualified.

I will not fight a battle that Jesus already won.

How can I outwit the obnoxious old foe?

Walk away.

Refuse (reFUZE) his refuse (REHfuse).

Claim the Name his ear can’t hear

Jesus

I don’t need to outwit the obnoxious old foe.

Jesus. Already. Did.

The devil is a faux foe.

Categories
Reflections

I Suddenly Saw Myself in a Massive Maze

Imagine, if you will, a maze. Picture it with many long, winding paths. Some of them wrap around back to where they started, and others are dead ends. But a few connect to each other and lead to the other side.

As I was reflecting on the past months of my life, I suddenly saw myself in a massive maze. I tend to think in pictures. This one was fitting and helped me to understand something important.

I had started at point “A”. I needed to get to point “B” but choosing the path to get there was daunting. There were countless options and none that I tried had succeeded. I was discouraged and confused.

Bushes cultivated into a maze: I Suddenly Saw Myself In a Massive Maze
Photo by Steven Hylands on Pexels.com
It is easy to get turned around and lost in a maze.

Have you been there? I’ll bet you have. When I suddenly saw myself in a massive maze, I realized we’ve all been there. It is called life.

Life is a series of complex mazes.

Navigating life can be challenging! There is a route from where we are to where we need to be, but it only takes one wrong turn to put us on a long and winding detour.

When I saw myself in this massive maze, I stopped and prayed. I realized that God could see my exact position in this crazy, twisting maze of life. He could also clearly see the route forward.

Aerial view of a complete maze: I Suddenly Saw Myself In a Massive Maze
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From His vantage point, God can lead me through the mazes of my life.

I needed to quit relying on my limited vision and let Him instruct my steps.

God was incredibly faithful! He spoke. He repeated Himself. He gave me signs. He sent experienced people to share their insights.

But I was hard-headed! I peeked down the corridors He didn’t choose. I hesitated when they looked intriguing – you know what I mean?

That’s when things went awry. I noticed little fires erupting around me. Family discord, work struggles, health issues, interruptions, drama, trauma… my progress all but stopped

I asked God why there was disturbance on my way. When I had suddenly seen myself in a massive maze, I had depended on Him to show me through. Now, so many of the optional routes were closed.

Even just writing that, I feel foolish. It was so obvious, but He had to explain it to me. He told me that He’d seen me peeking down the paths that led astray. He knew I was prone to wander, and didn’t have time to waste on traversing wrong avenues.

So when I started looking longingly down them, He had let them erupt. He blocked the wrong paths to show me the right one. He had done exactly as I’d asked.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path.”

Proverbs 3:5, 6

Sure enough, when I turned to look, there was one peaceful path ahead. It was unmistakable because it was the only clear one left. I’d been disheartened by the chaos instead of seeing it for what it was – an answer to prayer.

A path in a corn maze: I Suddenly Saw Myself In a Massive Maze
Photo by Nicholas Ceglia on Unsplash
God blocked the wrong paths so as to make the right one more noticeable.

I’d asked for direction and easily saw it in the positive words, signs, and confirmations when they came. I heard “Go this way”. But when the instructions came as negatives, “You can’t go this way”, I got curious. I didn’t recognize them for the blatant blessings they were. Can you relate?

I had to ask myself why I felt such a need to explore all of my options. I realized it was more than curiosity. I thought I was being thorough and doing my due diligence.

But sometimes, most times, it is best to leave well enough alone – especially because I’ve trusted Jesus to be my guide. All I need to do is listen to Him and move forward. There is no need to peep left or right down the avenues God has not indicated for me.

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”

Isaiah 30:21

“Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

Proverbs 4:7

Endless options, good and bad, may make you feel like I did when I suddenly saw myself in a massive maze.

My friend, where do you need to go? Are you looking for employment? Trying to make an important decision? Planning for a big life event?

What obstacles have you encountered? Have disruptions along the way hindered and frustrated you? If you take a step back and look at the big picture, you might recognize that your hardships are blocking you from going in one direction because you’re supposed to head in another.

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.”

Psalm 37:23

Maybe you’re not as hard-headed as I am. I hope you’re compliant and teachable, undeterred by the distractions around you. If not, maybe the lesson I learned when I suddenly saw myself in a massive maze will encourage you.

God sees you. He knows where you’re headed, and He can guide your way. Will you let Him?

A maze mapped out on paper: Photo by Nicholas Ceglia on Unsplash
Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com
God shows us the way.
Categories
Devotions

Forgiven and Free – Fooled by Feelings or In the Know?

The following quote made me stop and think. Do I bank my future on what I feel or what I know? How about you? Are you fooled by what you feel? Do you need to know whether you’re forgiven and free?

David Hocking quote about feeling forgiven: Forgiven and free - fooled by feelings or in the know?
Feelings can fool us. We need to know we’re forgiven!

To be sure, we need to go to the Source. The Bible helps us know whether we’re forgiven and how to fix it if we’re not. Feelings change but the Word of the Lord abides forever.

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Matthew 6:14, 15

“And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.”

Matthew 12:31

“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 2:38

“All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Acts 10:43

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”

Ephesians 1:7

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Colossians 1:13. 14

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9