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Posts Tagged ‘Control’

It has been quite a stormy few weeks around here……..let’s see…..my PC picked up 16 viruses and Windows wouldn’t even let it start up.

My car was run into and the driver’s side mirror was broken.  (Luckily the young man was HONEST and left me a note with his name and number and his insurance paid 100%!)

I have piano students coming out of my ears….well, maybe it just seems like it after 38 lessons every week…….

I almost ran over a ladder in the middle of the highway going 70 MPH  (and yes, that was the speed limit 🙂

In the middle of all of the stress, inconvenience, and being shook up about nearly totaling my car if I hadn’t been able to swerve around the ladder (Grace was with me, which scared me even more)  I still have peace.

Peace comes from knowing that God is in control.  I have no control over ladders in the middle of the highway (which I believe fell out of a state department of transportation vehicle that was working just up the highway….anyway……) but God has control over the traffic and allowed the lane next to me to be clear so I could quickly avoid the ladder.  He’s also in control of giving me complete peace, good judgment and decision making skills right in the split second I needed them.

I have no control over people hitting my car when it’s parked in my driveway, but God has control over the situation and worked out all of the details.  It turned into a blessing because I was able to borrow a car for free all week while mine was in the shop.  The repair was paid for 100% AND they totally detailed my car inside and out for me!!!!! (that was a VERY nice surprise.)

Even though the past couple of weeks have been inconvenient and I’ve had to spend time dropping my computer off, taking them my software, picking it up, dropping my car off, picking it up and have added more students to my schedule, God gives me peace.  I don’t worry about the details because I CAN’T control them no matter how hard I try.  I can only trust the One who does.

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When should you forgive someone?  When they apologize and ask for forgiveness?  When someone offends or hurts you?  What if they don’t apologize, should I still forgive them?

Forgiveness is a tough subject.  Everyone likes to be forgiven, but it’s not always easy to forgive.

I nannied for a family one summer and when their children did or said something that they needed to apologize for, they would say their apology, and instead of replying with “Oh, it’s OK” “No worries” or “that’s fine”  their sibling would say “I forgive you”  I really like that.  What a better way to start teaching children about forgiveness than to have them forgive their sibling when they apologize.  Sometimes just those words “I forgive you” are hard to say.

Some people say “I forgive you” or they talk a problem out and say that they forgave the other person but didn’t really forgive them.  The Bible says that when God forgives our sin, He forgets it.  He doesn’t hold it against us any more.  As humans, even though we forgive, we still remember, but we should try our hardest not to hold it against that person anymore.  We should show some mercy and give them another chance.  How many times should we give them another chance?  (this is tough, even for me, a person who considers themselves to be forgiving…..) Well, Christ says that we shouldn’t forgive people just 7 times, but we should forgive people until 70×7, meaning don’t keep track of the offenses, just forgive people.  But what if they did it on purpose?  What if I know they didn’t really mean it when they apologized?  What if I know they’re just going to do it again?  Well, God forgives you and I EVERY time we ask Him to, even though He knows our intents, and He knows if we will do it again, He is still there waiting to forgive us.

Do you have to wait for someone to apologize to you to forgive them?  No.  Absolutely not.  Forgiving someone is about you, not about them.  Forgiveness allows you to “get over it”  it allows you to stop harboring anger toward the person, forgiveness stops you from becoming bitter over the situation. 

One time a co-worker said something very bad  to me, that was about me, in front of other co-workers.  What my co-worker said was not true, but at the time, they believed it to be true.  What they said was very hurtful.  Two days later, she came to me and apologized for the situation and asked me to forgive her.  My response was “I already have.”  She looked at me very surprised and said, “You already forgave me?”  I said “Yes, that night when I went home, I forgave you.” 

You don’t have to wait for an apology, and if they don’t apologize, you don’t have to go to them and say “remember those bad things you said about me two days ago?  Well I forgive you for them.” 

 Not at all, all you have to do is pray about the situation and make the decision to forgive that person, whether they EVER apologize or not.  Again, when you forgive someone else, it’s for your benefit, not their benefit.

But, you don’t understand….what they did to me was hateful, cruel, immature, uncalled for, TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE……..well guess what?  It doesn’t matter.  Again, this goes back to my post on things I can and can\’t control.  Can I control the other person and the fact that they haven’t or won’t apologize to me?  No, I can’t control that.  What I can control is my attitude, my actions, and my response to the situation.  Did Christ wait for the Romans to apologize to Him for beating Him and hanging Him on the Cross?  Let me think about that…..If I recall, He said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  WHILE He was on the Cross, and I don’t ever recall an apology from the Romans. 

I’ve met several people in the last few months that have treated other people poorly because of something someone else did, or because of how someone else has treated them.  If they have truly forgiven the people in their past who have hurt them, they wouldn’t be bitter over it now and taking it out on other people.  Do you see how forgiveness is about YOU?  If you don’t forgive someone, they will never know.  They won’t be hurt by it and they’ll just move on with their life, while you continue to hate them, be angry at them, and become bitter over the situation.  This can go on for YEARS and even an entire lifetime. 

God calls us to be Christlike, and part of being Christlike is forgiving, WHETHER or NOT they apologize, WHETHER or NOT they forgive you, WHETHER or NOT they do it again.

Forgiveness is a very important part of our physical and spiritual lives.  Not forgiving people can even cause health problems. 

I’ve had many people ask me how I ever got over the abuse, the hurt, the pain, the emotional and psychological scars.  I’ve had a couple of newer friends of mine ask how I became a single mom, and when I say that I was in an abusive relationship and I decided to leave rather than be murdered, their eyes bug out and they say “I had no idea.”  “I would have never guessed.”  “How are you not a basket case?” 

It has taken time.  Lots of time, and lots of prayer.  As I look back, one of the first steps toward healing was forgiveness.  I wasn’t able to forgive him right away.  It took me several weeks, it was really over a month before I could bring myself to forgive him.  Did he ever apologize?  No.  Do I ever expect him to?  No, but that doesn’t matter.  I forgave him and allowed myself to start moving on with my life. 

 So does forgiveness mean that everything is all better and I’d marry him anyway?  Absolutely not.  It just means that I am not going to become angry or bitter because of the situation.

In addition to forgiving him, I also had to forgive myself.  For the longest time, I kept asking myself  “How did I let this happen?”  “Where did I make the mistake?”  “What did I do to deserve this?”  “What did I do that caused him to abuse me?’  These are very common thoughts for a person who’s been abused.  Abusers are very good at convincing you that abuse is your fault and that you brought it on yourself.  I had to stop one day and tell myself that it didn’t matter how I let it happen or where I had made a mistake.  It happened, it’s over with, and I can’t make myself feel guilty or responsible for bringing abuse on myself. 

When you start forgiving people, I mean truly forgiving them, whether they deserve it, whether they ask for it, and no matter how many times they offend you, it helps you keep your focus on Christ and off of other people, it helps you heal, it helps you be a better person, it gives you a fresh start and most importantly, it brings you one step closer to treating people as Christ would treat them.

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A co-worker of mine taught me a lesson several years ago that really helps me put things into perspective.  He shared with us a concept called the “Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence”  I like to call it “Things I can and can’t control.”

He drew two circles on a page one was the circle of concern, which is things that I can control.  The other circle is the circle of influence, these are things that influence me and my day, but they are things I can’t control.  He had us write things in the circles.  We wrote frustrations we had, we wrote things that happened at work that we didn’t like, we wrote all kinds of things, and then we talked about the two circles.

What I learned from this exercise is that the only things I can control are myself, my words, my actions and reactions, and how I treat other people.  I CANNOT control other people, what they say, or what they do.  I cannot control a co-worker or a friend who makes decisions that I don’t like.  I can’t control the weather, traffic, or other people’s reactions.  So I need to stop trying to control everything.  I need to give up control.  I needed to figure out the things that I could and couldn’t control.  The things that I could control, I needed to do something about, and the things that I couldn’t control, I needed to let go.  I needed to stop letting them get on my nerves, stop stressing me out, and stop making me frustrated.

Even though the circle of concern and the circle of influence are not necessarily Biblically based, I think this exercise is good for everyone including Christians to do.  This exercise is something that I did during my “healing process.”  I didn’t necessarily do it all on paper, but i would ask myself, “Is this something that I can control?”  If it was something I could control, then I had to find a solution to take care of the issue.  If it was something I couldn’t control, I had to learn to give it to God because ultimeately, He controls everything.

No matter what situation you are in, this exercise really helps put things into perspective.  Another part of this exercise is when you identify the things you can’t control that get on your nerves or are stressing you out, you need to find something that you can control that you can do so that it will stop getting on your nerves or stressing you out.  So for example, if  you get stressed out by traffic, you can’t control the traffic, but you can control what route you take to get to work.  So, you could take a different route that will be less stressful for you.  If you are planning to go on a picnic and it starts raining, you can’t control the rain, but you can come up with a plan “B” instead of sulking all day about not being able to go on the picnic. 

I know that my examples are little things, but this concept works with big things too.  I’ve found that whenever I’m having a problem or something is getting on my nerves, if I stop and think “Is this something I can control?”  Things really come into perspective for me.  If it’something I can’t control and it’s causing me problems, or unnecessary stress, I’ve learned that it’s something that I need to give over to God to take care of.

This concept has lowered my stress levels DRAMATICALLY.  I encourage you to try it and see for yourself how well it works.

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