There is something deeply spiritual about standing your ground; not getting small in order to make other people feel comfortable, or throwing up defenses in order to protect ourselves.
There is something sacred about honoring our truth. When faced with vulnerable situations, I try to remind myself of this: “Don’t shrink. And don’t puff up. Stand your sacred ground.”
The other day, I sat quietly by a stream watching the water flow, birds taking dips, and tiny fish swimming together. The beauty of it all was breathtaking. Nothing about the scene at the stream was rushed, forced, or controlled. It just was.
If God can make this tiny stream and the life surrounding it flow so effortlessly while simultaneously pointing back to His own beauty and perfection, can’t I assume He is doing the same in my own life?
That’s when it occurred to me.
If we could truly grasp God’s love for us, all of our prayers would be praise.
I was upset because I didn’t get what I wanted- which was your love and affection. But I had no right to get mad at you for not giving me that. You have given me so much love and so much affection, so often, that I think I just got dangerously used to it, almost dependent on it, on you.
That’s a heavy load to carry and I want to apologize.
I don’t want you to feel like you’re responsible for my happiness or unhappiness. You certainly bring me a lot of happiness but you’re not the source of it and I’m sorry I was acting like that.
The person you love is not the source but they’re the tool and God is going to use them to bring gifts to you. Look at people in this way and your relationships will change.
In an argument, have patience.
Imagine if someone were to come at you with their fists doubled, surely you would double your own just as fast.
But now, imagine someone comes to you asking to sit together, hoping to understand your point of view and exactly why yours differ. In this instance, you may find that you are not so far apart after all…that the points on which you differ are few and the points on which you agree are many.
In arguments, if only we can possess patience, and a desire to get together, we will get together.
If you wish to be above men, put yourself below them. If you wish to be before men, put yourself behind them.
This way, although you are above them, they will not feel your weight. And although you are before them, they will not count it as an injury.
This is how the rivers and seas are able to reign over all the mountain streams.
In his youth, Benjamin Franklin received a letter from one of his friends rebuking his opinionated nature. The letter is included here because I believe we can all learn from it.
“Ben, you are impossible. Your opinions have a slap in them for everyone who differs with you. They have become so offensive that nobody cares for them. Your friends find they enjoy themselves better when you are not around. You know so much that no man can tell you anything. Indeed, no man is going to try, for the effort would lead only to discomfort and hard work. So you are not likely ever to know any more than you do now, which is very little.”
What a great friend this man was! He told the truth. And Ben listened…and went on to become one of the greatest Diplomats in American history.
What can we learn from this letter?
Often, it is best to choose being nice, over being right. Forcing your opinion down another person’s throat never works. And know it alls tend to lose it all before they know it.
The only time we should look down on another person is when we are reaching out our hand to lift them up.
‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves’ (Philippians 2:3). Because ‘His power is perfected in weakness’ ‘ (2 Corinthians 12:9). Because ‘Those who humble themselves will be exalted’ (Matthew 23:12).
Humility is remaining in the flow of giving and receiving, understanding that neither is inherently better than the other and that in fact, they must both co exist, side by side.
The Christian God is the only one who blesses the poor. All other religions bless the strong. But Jesus died in shame and weakness– OUR shame and weakness! Therefore, God didn’t save us by strength, He saved us through weakness. This is why He blesses the poor and weak.