resisting retaliation

resisting retaliation

“See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.” –1 Thessalonians 5:15

2018-02-06 09:41:10.591

One of the hardest things in life is criticism. Whether it’s constructive or meant to tear you down, comments about the way we do things can seem personal and hostile. I am not good with criticism. Even if I ask for it, I still cringe at the thought of someone calculating my every move. It’s a part of human nature. We take these helpful hints as a shot to our pride, and we react. Feelings are inescapable. Emotions are in essence the human condition. But emotions are also internal, and most of the time we can choose to show them. Being sensitive to constructive criticism is one thing. Some people can take it like a champ, make the changes, and become better because of it. Not me. I’ll be torn up for days about it, I’ll contort my face and wring my writs with nervousness. These outward actions as a result of my inward emotions are frustrating and self-deprecating. But they’re also a me thing. It’s a personal struggle and the only person who has to deal with it is me, and I recognize that.

Reacting to a negative comment is an entirely different thing. This isn’t something my mind has made up to confuse me. This is actual judgment coming my way with malicious intent. It’s hateful. It’s destructive. I may not have done something to cause it, or maybe I did. Either way, this kind of adversity isn’t meant to lift me up, it’s meant to bring me down. Dealing with this isn’t easy. It isn’t irrational to want to respond. And it’s not inherently wrong to respond. When something like this happens to me I want nothing more than to do just that. To put them in their place, to prove them wrong (especially if what they’re saying is inaccurate or slanderous.) It’s one thing to hold a friend accountable. Accountability is tricky because we’re called to do it. James 5:16 says to encourage your brothers and sisters to grow in Christ, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Jesus “called out” (for lack of a better word) his brothers and sisters. He encouraged them to do better, to fulfill their whole purpose not only for their sake but for the betterment of the Kingdom of God.

“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

We aren’t meant to do life alone, but confronting someone for nothing more than social power and your own satisfaction does nothing. There’s no way to stop this from happening. We have no control over others actions, no matter how hard we try. Individuals will act out on their own will for no reason at all sometimes. The only thing we can control is ourselves and our reaction to this betrayal.

The way we react to things shows our true character. It shows our true colors in the rawest way. Retaliation is something I struggle with, and I probably will for a very long time. It’s not a one-step fix; it’s a process. Like anything in life, in order to change, we must give ourselves space to grow. It’s so frustrating at times, but I’ve found the key to happiness is ignore, ignore ignore. Meaningless hate is just that-meaningless.

Life is too short to acknowledge petty things, much less react to them. If a subtle confrontation has turned into something where it has become impossible to overlook, it’s time to speak up. This interaction is such a sensitive balance, so it is crucial to be gentle with your response. Giving them the satisfaction of a melt-down lets them win. At this point, I want to explode. I want them to feel the humiliation and agitation they made me feel. But what good does that do? They get exactly what they want and I am left even more embarrassed that I showed that I let it get to me. “The only thing more frustrating than slanderers is those foolish enough to listen to them.” ― Criss Jami, Killosophy. Letting the ridiculous thing someone said about your get to you gives it power, and in turn gives power to its creator.

So let go and let God! 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling”…-Phillipaims 2:12

 “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  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 12:8-9

kendallbayleejohnson@thehomesickwanderer.com

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what does it really mean to be in a relationship that is focused on honoring God’s Will and how to do it: a step by step.

what does it really mean to be in a relationship that is focused on honoring God’s Will and how to do it: a step by step.

what does it really mean to be in a relationship that is focused on honoring God’s Will and how to do it: a step by step.

  1. find a partner. or more preferably, let them find you. (not in a “fair maiden rescued” kinda way,) being totally honest with you, its a lot of work actively searching a mate. might as well let God’s plan fall into place. amiright, ladies? plus, it’s more rom-com that way.
  2. don’t stress about how you look. guys sense a woman in distress. the ones you want to avoid will try to take advantage of that and the good ones will have no idea what’s happening. find you a guy that is just happy to be with you.
  3. don’t test him. “do you like me better with or without makeup?” is a baited question, and you know it. try, “i tried something new with my makeup, do you like it?” he thinks you’re drop dead gorgeous either way and doesn’t even the notice the hours of effort you’ve made. that’s okay. learn to accept guys might not notice things like that (just like we might not notice little things he does for us!!) but hey, maybe he’ll point it out the next time you really do try something new and i promise you will feel oh, so special.
  4. God’s guy for you won’t be obsessed with your body. he won’t always be staring at you and telling you you look smokin’ today (even though you already know it.) yes, this can seem like a bummer when you’re down about how your stomach is bloated that day, or if your hair is a mess, but it is eons better than the alternative. if he’s not constantly pawing at you for his physical urges to be fufilled, it means that the real you, inside you, that usually only you see is shining through so bright he barely even notices the other stuff. if he is more attracted to your mind and your spirit, then you’ve got a keeper.
  5. now that being said, physical attraction is important. it’s not a bad thing, in fact beauty is something God gave to us as a gift. he gave us physical attraction to our partners because he understands just how important that is. his recognition of your beauty should be coming from a place of love and pure desire. (although how that is expressed can steer you away from God’s Almighty Plan, see #6-affection.) he should lift you up, put you on a pedestal. He should recognize that your beauty is not merely for him. That it was given to you by God and you have let him in.
  6. *sighs* affection. here we go. affection is one of the greatest and most dangerous powers we are given. passion is a wonderful thing. being able to manipulate your partner’s chemical balances through physical contact is so remarkable, also yay for science and dopamine. but with great power comes great responsibility. listen to that little voice in your head. if the alarms sound, stop. even if you don’t think it could have consequences what you are about to do isn’t just about you, no matter how bad you want it to be. it’s about him, its about God, and its about the people around you. think of the warning bells like a tornado siren. prepare yourself, take cover, and take all precautions necessary.
  7. communication is key. your man is not a mind-reader. he’s not a psychic fortune-teller, although if he is, that’s another conversation. talk to him. language is this /beautiful thing, but its useless if we don’t take advantage of it. that being said, body language is important too. picking up little signals from your partner can be an integral part of your relationship. but don’t stress out too much if he isn’t immediately get the hint. guys are simple creatures when it comes to those things. Just tell him what you need and he will try his best to help you out. you’ll feel so much better, and plus, your need will be met the best to his ability.
  8. pray with him. think of your relationship like a triangle, kind of like the trinity. you and him are right next to each other, giving equal support to the two beams adjacent and the one in between. God is there at the point, connected to both you and him, and in turn, lifting up the beam in between the two of you. Without each piece, the shape is incomplete and it just doesn’t work. So when you pray, include him; he’s part of the triangle, right? pray with him. life is so much better without a middle-man when it comes to communication and relationship. might as well have all parties present. hold his hand tight and cling to his spirt. allow him to lean on you for support and guidance. Lift your worries and grievances up to God together. lift your praises up, too. celebrating is much more fun when you’re not all alone.
  9. be obedient to His Word. hearing God’s whisper is much more efficient if there is another pair of ears listening out for it. if His call goes out to the both of you, you’re more likely to hold each other accountable. it’s like dieting, but except instead of making sure neither of you have an extra piece of cake, you’re walking next him on the narrow road to eternal life. as Christians we’re called to hold eachother accountable (he reminds me of this everyday.) who’s better than to be the one to tell you to tighten up than the person you know has your best interest at heart and loves you unconditionally?

 

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being in a relationship with someone isn’t something to be taken lightly. it’s a commitment and is meant to lead a pathway for a future with a strong foundation. trust the Lord and follow His guidance. He knows what He’s talking about.