People You Can’t Stand

People you can’t stand. The mutual friends that annoy you, the coworkers that are mean, the guy on the bus that gives you attitude because you sat next to him, and the people that shove you around in the crowded subways. Sometimes they are irritating blips on your life screen; other times you get caught up in a cycle of anger and resentment.

You pray and ask God to help you love them. Maybe you have to say that prayer repeatedly, in each moment that your heart rebels against the command to love them. It’s not easy to have the grace that God has. 

Just take a moment to soak that in. It gives new insight to the oft-repeated but rarely-considered line in the Lord’s prayer – “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive others who have trespassed against us.” How easily we ask for God’s forgiveness yet we rarely think of the well of patience our Lord has for us.

There is a mind-blowing (if you really let your heart mull over it) lesson to learn from these interactions – how amazingly endless is the DEPTH AND BREADTH OF GOD’S LOVE & GRACE?!

*Image taken from:http://www.pktfuel.com/neighbourly-love/

I don’t understand, God.

Ecclesiastes 11:3-5

3 If clouds are full of water,

they pour rain on the earth.

Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north,

in the place where it falls, there it will lie.

In my words: It is what it is. Things will take place as intended or as designed by nature.

4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant;

whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

In my words: How can you expect results if you’re so busy worrying about the circumstances that you don’t invest in doing the work?

 5 As you do not know the path of the wind,

or how the body is formed[a] in a mother’s womb,

so you cannot understand the work of God,

the Maker of all things.

In my words: So much is beyond our own knowledge. If we can accept that, then why can’t we acknowledge that we won’t always understand what God is up to?

Ecclesiastes 3:11

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

In my words: Maybe things don’t look so great or even interesting. Maybe you’re in an ugly situation. But perhaps, given time, that ugly situation will turn into something beautiful in God’s hands. Perhaps that not-so-interesting job or place or thing will end up becoming so much more than what you originally envisioned.  God has seen, not to mention created, all of eternity. It’s beyond our ability to comprehend.

Can an Unanswered Prayer be a Prayer Answered?

Have you ever hit a point when you can’t remember the last time you laughed wholeheartedly? When you’ve been so burdened, stressed, and frustrated that you don’t even know what to pray for anymore?

Maybe you know in your head that you’re supposed to wait on God’s plan and that he knows best. You may be aware that there are reasons that things don’t turn out the way you want. But that doesn’t necessarily make things easier.

My advice: Keep talking to God. Keep trying to get to know him and his will. Persist because it’s what you need to do and God will enable you to keep going. Sometimes he is pulling things together and he needs you to wait. Sometimes you were better off not getting what you asked for. Sometimes you grow and learn as you wait, and your prayer ends up completely changing.

Take a look at this man’s struggle to pray when he loses the ideal job; it’s a great reminder of God’s wisdom and foresight.

Disappointed by God?

What are the expectations we place on God? When things go wrong, do we grow distant from him? Do we question why he’s allowing us to go through so much pain and suffering? Do we get angry with him and rile at him? Do we ask ourselves why we even bothered praying about it when it looks like God doesn’t care?

Some advise us to keep our expectations low in life so we can protect ourselves against getting hurt. Does that apply to God? Perhaps we should be evaluating our expectations against the word of God. We need to look at our source of information on God – the Bible and our own connection with him – and then compare that to the expectations we have of God. Are we expecting his good to be based on our definition or his? When God says he has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11), do we take that verse at face value or do we think about in context of the God we know whose wisdom goes far beyond our perspective (Romans 12:2)?

When things are falling down around us and we want to rant and rave at God because he isn’t answering us the way we want him to, we need to take a step back and consider what we know of God.

  1. God is a LOVING God. There’s no one else who loves you more.  But remember that he also loves ALL of us, even those we see as enemies.
  2. God is JUST. But his justice doesn’t necessarily look the same as it does in our minds.
  3. God is WISE. He sees a much bigger picture than we do and he knows what’s coming down the line.
  4. God is JOY and PEACE.
  5. God is PATIENT. His patience ties into his wisdom as well and that’s what we need to remember when we’re feeling impatient with him because his answer may take much longer than we think it should.
  6. God is FAITHFUL. If Jesus can die on the cross for sinners, don’t you think he will do everything in his power to honor his relationship with you?
  7. God is STRONG and ALL-POWERFUL. There is literally nothing that he can’t handle.

In addition to what we know of God’s character, we should also take into account that his plans involve us. He asks us to have the heart of a servant.

This isn’t a one-way relationship. God has a special role for each of us and in our service, people witness the love of of God. Sometimes what happens in our lives is not about us, it’s about the people around us who witness our relationships with God.

So, take a fresh look at your situation and try to see how God’s answer may tie into a greater purpose. That doesn’t mean he’s not looking out for you but it does mean he has a much broader perspective. I believe we shouldn’t lower our expectations of God, but adjust them to align with God’s character and his promises.

Read more in this blog post titled Expectations.

Taking a Break from Dating

Ever gone through seasons of just giving up on even thinking about your love life? I know I have. This is a great post simply because of its vulnerability. Sometimes you just need to hear that someone else gets it. Take a look!

Wasted Time: True Love’s Saboteur.

Tired of Being Single

English: Bangladeshi wedding at Dhaka

The last 12 months have been whirlwind of engagements, proposals, bridal showers, and weddings. Last month, I attended the first of 4 recent/upcoming weddings in my circle of close friends. The next is that of my closest friend at the end of this month and then two more will take place next summer.

I honestly could not be happier about these weddings. I feel so incredibly blessed to see all of these girls end up with husbands/fiances who know God personally and who truly treasure them.

But at the same time, I find I’ve come right up against that cliched experience of being one of the last single ladies. And what they say is true – Somehow, being surrounded by all those weddings makes your own desire for marriage all the more acute. When all of your close friends start heading down the aisle and you’re still on the lookout, the irritation and longing of waiting seems to hang even heavier on your shoulders.

I don’t think I could identify more with the title of this post, which is why I want to share this article from Single Roots. It’s an important reminder that God calls us to look beyond ourselves and the desires we want fulfilled right now. Take a look!

Related Posts:

Purposefully Single

Still Single? Find encouragement.

Challenge: “I Just Want To Be Okay”

For anyone who has struggled through change and questioned life’s difficulties, this is a post worth reading. Essentially, the author is talking about what it looks like to be content in all situations as Paul learned to be. It may seem daunting to accept life’s uncertainties, but God will help you with that. You never have to do anything alone or on your own strength.

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

– Philippians 4:11-13

Perfect Timing!

There are a lot of times we question God when we’re frustrated with waiting. Whether it’s a job search, passing board exams, figuring out our major in college, or being single; we’ve all encountered the frustration of waiting for something to happen or for God to point us in the right direction. I found this author’s perspective refreshing, especially the reminder that God has been working towards a solution before we even knew of the problem. That certainly puts things into perspective! Take a look at the post below for further insight into God’s timing. (Taken from: http://spiritualinspiration.tumblr.com/post/50295647254/we-dont-always-understand-gods-methods-his-ways)

We don’t always understand God’s methods. His ways don’t always make sense to us, but we have to realize that God sees the big picture. Consider this possibility: You may be ready for what God has for you, but somebody else who is going to be involved is not ready yet. God has to do a work in another person or another situation before your prayer can be answered according to God’s will for your life. All the pieces have to come together for it to be God’s perfect time.

But never fear; God is getting everything lined up in your life. You may not feel it; you may not see it. Your situation may look just like it did for the past ten years, but then one day, in a split second of time, God will bring it all together. When it is God’s timing, all the forces of darkness can’t stop Him. When it’s your due season, God will bring it to pass.

You must learn to trust God’s timing. You can be sure that right now, God is arranging all the pieces to come together to work out His plan for your life. He has been working in your favor long before you encountered the problem. Don’t grow impatient and try to force doors open. Don’t try to make things happen in your own strength. The answer will come, and it will be right on time.

Struggling with Desire

Long Wedding Dress for Couple with Flowers

(Photo credit: epSos.de)

Just because we’re Christian doesn’t mean we don’t struggle with sexual desire. It’s not something to be ashamed of; yet often in Christian circles, conversation about desire focuses on the rules of waiting and staying pure.

I think Joy Eggerichs does a great job talking about sex and waiting in a way that acknowledges natural desires. One point I found especially relevant was that waiting is also a form of being disciplined and practicing loyalty/faithfulness to our future spouse whether they are currently in our lives or not. Take a look at a few of the posts she’s done on this topic.

Rushing marriage to end the wait? (“Ask Joy” written post)

Healthy God-Centered Sexuality (Part 1) & (Part 2) (short videos)

Give Me a Break, Give Me a Break

When to quite online dating? I think Ruth gives sound advice here. Also, remember that God will bring you to your mate in his time in his own way. So, don’t worry about unsubscribing because you think the minute you log off you’ll miss the ONE. He’s got you covered and he can take care of introducing you.

I Kissed My Date Goodnight

Internet DatingA male reader recently wrote me to ask: When is the right time to quit online dating? Using my Sherlock Holmes powers of deduction, I can assume he hasn’t met the woman of his dreams. If he were questioning whether to continue online dating even after meeting his wife, we’d have bigger fish to fry. No, this reader — like so many of us, including myself — is simply frustrated with not finding that special someone, and is questioning whether to keep up an online dating subscription. Valid question. Notebooks open, pencils sharpened… let’s dive in.

As you know, I’m a big proponent of online dating. I’ve tried it, I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve been matched with some great men. On the other hand, I’ve tried it, I’ve hated it, I’ve been matched with some real freakazoids. But, come on, that’s the nature of dating in general, not just online dating…

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