From: Get more strength.com
“Throw off anything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Hebrews 12:1
I boarded the plane in Chicago with too much baggage. Not the kind of baggage you stow in the overhead compartment or squash under the seat in front of you. Not even the kind you check in at the airline desk. This was the kind of baggage that weighs your heart down and that, if carried around, leaves you emotionally and spiritually exhausted. An unexpected attack from a trusted friend had left me deeply upset and really confused about how to respond.
As the flight attendants went through their pre-flight checklist, I was lost in thought world thinking through all my options. Feeling betrayed and unjustly wronged, I had a long list of possibilities—the kind of responses that seemed very natural to my fallen heart—but they were the types of choices that were wrapped in the old revenge, self-protection, and “I don’t get mad, I just get even” kind of stuff.
As we taxied out to the runway, I knew I needed a second opinion. So I simply prayed, “God, I need you to talk to me. I desperately need your wisdom. You brought this into my life for a purpose, but I don’t know what to do next.”
As the plane climbed, I began to feel closer to God. Not physically closer (although praying above the clouds at 35,000 feet does lend a different perspective), but spiritually closer as He began to share His wisdom with me from Matthew 5. My natural thoughts and desires to fight back and demand my rights were replaced with Jesus’ instruction to “turn the other cheek,” to “go the extra mile,” to “bless those who curse me” (Matthew 5:38-48).
Of course, my human nature continued to argue for a while. “But, God, I’ll feel so weak. I’ll feel like a pushover, a weakling. I need to fight for myself.” The reality is, my pride wanted to keep the baggage. My ego wanted to hang on to the situation and try to deal with it through human, natural, flawed means. Trusting the Lord’s wisdom would mean that I no longer had control of the situation.
But God in His grace reminded me of the surrender of Christ on the cross. He drew me to the fact that, for Jesus, the path to glory was the path of surrender and letting go. The one who is the Lion of Judah is also the Lamb that was slain. And God drew me to that point of decision once again. Was I going to manage this situation to my advantage or was I going to release it, in trust and obedience, to Him?
I am thankful to say that when the plane landed in New York, I left some baggage on it. I walked through the terminal without the heaviness of heart that comes from fighting for my own rights. I headed for my hotel free of the weight of bitterness that the enemy was trying to stir up in my soul. God had renewed my strength and the weariness was gone.
Let me invite you to the privilege of waiting on the Lord. As Isaiah 40:28 reminds us, God never grows weary. His wisdom never runs out. His power, His might, and His truth are available and accessible to His children. You don’t need to walk another step with that load of fear, guilt, anger, bitterness, or confusion.
Check your carry-on baggage. Surrender it to Him and then seek His wisdom to strengthen and direct you.
It makes the journey so much more enjoyable!
I Just Unfriended My Friend
“My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them for they will refresh your soul.” Proverbs 3:21-22a (NLT)
“Women are ridiculous,” I said to my husband as I crawled into bed, tears dripping. He gave me an agreeable stare, since he had no words to console my aching heart.
I’d just learned a friend lied to me. It was about something senseless, which just made it worse. As the hours ticked by, I wrestled through troubling thoughts.
Why would she lie about THAT?
Were we ever really friends?
The combination of hurt and middle-of-the-night thinking was toxic, forming a very self-centered attitude in me. I decided I no longer had room in my life to deal with someone who had lied to me. So in my heart, I just unfriended this friend.
I have other people I can be friends with, I thought as I drifted off to sleep.
The next morning I realized how my emotions had distorted my perceptions. It concerned me how quickly I was willing to write off this friend, since we had been through a lot together. And I really did value our relationship.
So I pondered the emotions swirling in my heart.
In our cyber culture today, it’s easy to sit behind computer screens and smartphones while we reject the reality of many things, including friendships.
My profile on Facebook says I have 900 “friends.” Social media convinces me I have hundreds of people in my corner. But in reality, I don’t have 900 friends I could call in the midst of a crisis or even go meet for a cup of coffee.
And that “unfriend” button is mighty tempting when someone hurts me. But the truth is, ending a relationship is much more complex than the way social media convinces me it can happen — as easily as clicking an icon.
Social media is a relational tool, but it’s not a relational reality.
More than ever, I need to see my friendships through the lens of reality, and this verse helps me do this: “My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them for they will refresh your soul,” (Proverbs 3:21-22a).
God has given us two trustworthy filters to help us see things as what they really are: common sense and discernment.
In this situation with my friend, common sense, reminded me: You don’t really have 900 friends, but you do have one or two people you can really count on. And you need to cultivate those relationships through good times and bad.
When I wanted to reject our relationship because I was hurt, discernment said: Your friend is human. At the core of her heart she cares about you and didn’t mean to hurt you.
We will always be susceptible to flawed perceptions in our friendships. But when we hang on to the realities God offers us through common sense and discernment I believe we will be much wiser with our perceptions.
Using God’s Word as my filter, rather than my emotions, allowed me to work through the hurtful issue with my friend. That experience made me a more compassionate friend and it strengthened our friendship, so that when I mess up (and I’m sure I will), hopefully she’ll forgive me.
God, we are so grateful for Your gifts of common sense and discernment. Give us the grace to use these filters when things get foggy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.