Here I am on the blog again. Don't really have time for it, but making time because it is good for me to write and blog. Sort of a silent "therapy". Plus, I do not really like putting personal things on my business photography blog. I must confess, that while I enjoy writing and sharing, I'm not real good with keeping up with everyone's blogs.
I'll begin with totally random thoughts here:
I've had my thoughts on "New Beginnings" in past weeks.
A new day for me some time back, was realizing and feeling totally relaxed with who I am in Christ, the good, the bad and the ugly of it...mainly learning that I don't have to PLEASE everyone!! I should be most concerned with pleasing God first!
All of my life I've been a "people pleaser". Not any more. I don't know if it is old age, or just pure deliverance from the Lord, but these days I am into pleasing God and not people. As I've come to this place in my life, a few things are brought to my mind...one being a word of advise that our pastor from back home gave to David and I...
Out of 100% of the people in your life...20% will love you no matter what you say or do wrong. They are FOR you and will love and support you unconditionally. Even if you say or do something wrong, they will be quick to forgive and still be an encouragement in your life. 20% of the people will come against you not matter what. They will stir up trouble intentionally. No matter what, they are going to be offended by most everything you say, and find fault in everything you do. They are quick to judge, will keep records of wrongs and try to keep you manipulated, held down and oppressed. You could try and try to make things right with them, but underneath the surface they will always be seething about something you've done. (and aren't we all at times??)
60% of the people are totally undecided. This is a HUGE percentage of people in our lives that we brush arms with that we can impact...especially as christians. This is the larger that we can impact for Christ in a positive way. These are the people who observe us, who are casual acquaintances, who haven't really made a sure thought about us either way. However, we are influencing them. It maybe be for positive or negative.
Our pastor back home, Cliff Black, is a wise man. He told this "percentage thing" to David and I many years ago...when God was calling us to service. These words have never left me, and always come back to remembrance through the years.
He further said to us that we spend 75% of our time wasting our energy to change the minds of the 20% of negative oppressors in our lives! He said preachers spend this same percentage of energy on sermons to "preach to" those negative 20%....to try to get them to "see the light" of the error of their ways. Or, to try to get them "won over". :)
So his advise? Live your life sold out to Christ, be who you are, speak (or preach) your convictions, and live to impact the 60% who are undecided...who are open to knowing/learning the truth about Christ or truth about who you are. :)
It is just an interesting dynamic that I believe to be so true in my life, and have observed to be true in others.
I'm pretty open about my feelings and thoughts...very straightforward too. Which is ME, and MY choice. People may not like that I am so open with my life, and put myself out there. People may actually hate this about me. That is their problem, not mine. :-D
I will do what God puts on my heart to do. I'm going to live my life in the way God is leading me. Whether it seems right or wrong to someone else, it is something I will work out with the Lord. I love Him, I'm in His word, and He will work out any and all of my imperfections as I draw near to Him.
Also, I'm not going to quit sharing just because something I share "might" offend someone else. Because seriously, there are people out there who are going to get offended by anything and everything (remember the 20% who is going to do this no matter what???)
That is how I feel about it, and guess if others can't handle what I share, then they need to move on to other blogs, or don't read mine. :)
It is time for New Beginnings in my life!
God has really been speaking to me in my quiet times about "New Beginnings". Part of this is "letting go". It is difficult as humans to let each other off the hook and allow them to be new again..or even just allow them to BE. It is MOST difficult for ME to let myself off the hook to be new...let alone think about what others think of me (which honestly has paled and faded into the distance :).
I've learned by reading God's word, that any attitude that does not allow someone to be new or holds someone to their past, is not an attitude that comes from the spirit of the Lord. The Lord is all about NEW beginnings! I'm talking about NOT using someone's past to condemn them with. Or constantly bringing up their mistakes as a purpose to remind them of how much of a failure they are! Sometimes we do need to encourage one another to deal with our past in order to move forward. Yet, this is something done because you care for that person, and want to encourage them to break free!
Part of New Beginnings is forgiving...letting go, and forgiving. If someone comes to me and asks for forgiveness...or even if they never do confess they've hurt me...I should still forgive. It is my job to immediately forgive an offense...to pray for them and forgive them. Let them off the hook. :) It isn't my job to keep holding them to the offense for weeks, months...years. This has been hard for me in the past, but not anymore. I am making a decided choice to DAILY die to self in this area!
If someday, someone who offended me comes to me and feels they need to ask for forgiveness (for them), I'll welcome them with open arms. However, I don't need them to do this in order for me to make a decision to forgive. There is nothing in the Bible that says I must have an "I'm sorry" from someone to forgive them. I mean, how do I know their heart? They may have repented and asked the Lord to forgive them, and who am I to keep holding them to an offense? :) If I hold them to the offense, I am being no different than the person who offended. Sin is sin.
To me, it is just a huge blessing when someone does make wrong a right, however, not necessary in order for me to love or move forward from it.
These are a few things God has been working out in me. I've been holding onto things for YEARS...things that have offended me and hurt me....hoping and waiting for those people to come to me and make it right. I release those offenses, and choose to spend my energy worshipping and praising my Lord and Savior!!! :)
The mental energy it takes to stew over an offense can be quite draining. It can be a stronghold and grip our lives with oppression. Plus, it almost sets that person up as an idol in my life...because I'm giving more thought to it than even to the Lord at times!! I want my obsessive thoughts to be about the Lord. As Steven Curtis Chapman says, "Jesus, Be My Magnificent Obsession"!!! If I am more concerned about pleasing God, I won't be too concerned about what others are doing or not doing...or concerned with holding on to an offense. :)
Mark 11:24-26 (NIV)
24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
John 20:22-23 (NIV)
23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.