Monday, September 22, 2008

Don't Get Offended!

The subject of being offended and being offensive has come up in my prayer time over and over and over lately so it's gotten me to praying, studying, forgiving, and apologizing a lot lately. In the last week alone I have been in situations where I've listened to others ranting about their offenses, I've watched people I love be seriously offended by me, and I've encountered serious moments where I had to choose whether to be offended or not, and too often I've chosen to be upset. I've had to make several phone calls, and pen a few emails to clear things up I've unintentionally done. . . so where's the key to the source of my problems?

Here's what I have in my aresenal that I keep referring to:

Mainstream Online Advice

  • Step1 Keep in mind that when a comment seems offensive that it may not be aimed specifically at you. It may be a casual comment and the person is unaware that you are taking it personally.
  • Step2 Consider the context that things are being said or done. Many times, you may have misunderstood and taken it wrongly.
  • Step3 Avoid being too sensitive as it is a sure way to be easily offended.
  • Step4 Tell yourself that maybe the person is having a bad day and does not realize how he came across. Don't judge and avoid jumping to conclusions.
  • Step5 Talk to the person cordially about how you feel. The person might not realize that she has offended you. Talking over the issues can help to resolve misunderstandings, hidden anger and frustration.
  • Step6 Think positive and stop brooding over the offense. Thinking too much often makes you jump to conclusions that are often times not based on fact.
  • Step7 Stay away from self-pity when offended. It can destroy your self esteem and make you miserable.
  • Step8 Pray for the ability to forgive and forget the offense if you have been truly offended.
  • Step9 Learn from your experience and be careful the next time you speak or do something. It may save a person who is overly sensitive a lot of grief.

A great devotional on the subject

Don't Get Offended!
A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. - Proverbs 19:11

Are you easily offended? If you are, you have plenty of company these days. Our society has made becoming offended a national pastime. It's almost as if we've made offense a virtue today. One example of this is the prevalence of "road rage." One driver gets offended with another, and what began as a minor altercation can escalate into a major conflict. But that's not God's way. The verse above tells us that the honorable thing for us to do in these situations is to overlook the offense. If you want to defuse a volatile situation, refuse to become offended. Yes, you may have been wronged. And your feelings might have been hurt. But if you are a believer, God Himself has promised to be your Vindicator, and He will deal with those who treat you unfairly. (Psalm 135:14) Your job is to handle situations like these His way, not the world's way. Psalm 119:165 AMP says, "Great peace have they who love Your law; nothing shall offend them or make them stumble." If we are lovers and doers of God's Word, we will walk in peace and we will not be easily offended. When the apostle Paul is describing the God-kind of love that believers are to demonstrate, he says: "It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." (1 Corinthians 13:5) The next time you are tempted to take offense at something someone says to you, pray and ask the Lord, "Is there any truth to this, Lord? Do I need to make some changes here?" Then be honest with yourself and God, and let Him deal with you, if necessary.
Proverbs 18:19 says, "An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city." Is there someone in your life, like a family member, who gets offended easily, and whom you have to deal with on a regular basis? People like these can be difficult to get along with because when they take offense, they refuse to listen to reason or to yield to attempts to make amends. We may not always be able to avoid offending these people, but there are a couple of things we can do. We can pray for them, and we can refuse to become offended ourselves. The reason taking offense is displeasing to God is that it's destructive to relationships. It divides people and causes conflict. It can break up families, friendships, and even churches. It's one of Satan's most valuable weapons against God's kingdom, and as believers, we are to be aware of his tactics so that we won't become his victims. (2 Corinthians 2:11) Proverbs 17:9 AMP says, "He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends." Every time we forgive an offense, we are preserving our relationships and slamming the door in the devil's face. Most of all, we are pleasing and glorifying the One Who deserves our very best!
Prayer: Lord, You know better than anyone how many opportunities to take offense I encounter each day. I ask that You give me the grace I need to resist becoming offended in these situations. Make me an example and an inspiration to others. Deal with me when I'm in the wrong and I need to make some changes. When I suffer hurt, heal and comfort me. Thank You that by Your grace, I shall walk in peace!

So I have to ask myself, how do we do it? I've worked so hard the last few years not to be so easily offendable, but I still worry so much about offending people. I beat myself up for days over every misspoken word, and every statement that came out all wrong.

Especially in this political election climate we're in, every word spoken or written seems to be truth to one group, and offensive speech to another.

If the Bible tells us not to, then surely it's possible. Surely the Holy Spirit gives us the tools and open doors to achieve it, but why is it so difficult? What more of my flesh needs to die in order to have peace in this area? Well, obviously all of it. . .

Any seasoned peace walkers out there? Got any advice for a walking brute? :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Final Trip to the River Summer 08

Well we bookended our summer with trips to the river with Mimi and Hobby this year. We began on the Llano River and ended on the Brazos. Mom and Bill rented a cabin just off the banks of the Brazos River and we spent two days and nights enjoying the last trip on the boat with fall approaching quickly.

We had such a great time simply relaxing in the beautiful weather. The first morning there Jason, Bill, Mom, and I just sat outside enjoying the morning. We laughed so hard (mostly at each other) my stomach was hurting and I had tears in my eyes. Brian and Amy arrived mid day and we enjoyed one of the rare times when we were all together and not in a rush to go somewhere.

The kids went on a hike with Daddy/Uncle Jason while the rest of us prepared lunch, and afterward we headed for the river bank. The kids took turns boys out for tubing, then girls out for tubing, and the other half stayed and played on the banks. While the boys swam as far away as possible and went exploring on a desserted island (don't worry, we could see them the whole time) the girls spent their time playing spa. Click here to see what I mean! Girls and Boys are most certainly different!

After everyone had their fill of tubing, we loaded everyone onto the boat and drove around to a great swimming cove we had found the previous day. There were huge rock cliffs and a quiet spot where we anchored and let everyone swim til they were tuckered out.

This portion of the Brazos river differed from the Llano in that it was uninhabited along the shore line. It was miles and miles of beautiful untouched nature. The birds were humongous, and the fish would just jump out of the water right in front of you! It was all breathtaking.

It was a great way to close out summer and get ready for our busiest and favorite time of the year. . . FALL!

Life in Focus

So often the enemy makes me begin to feel out of control, overwhelmed and unworthy. When I focus on all the things I don't accomplish in a day, or have left to do on my "someday" list of things to handle, I begin to feel like I'm sliding towards failure. Or at least "bad mom" "bad wife" status. So, this morning while cleaning up the makings of breakfasts and school lunches, having just returned from taking my grandmother to the Dr, starving from my latest round of medicated weight management, I had a moment of clarity. And all before 9:30am. Wow. As I washed out the soup can and dumped it into the recycle bin, I thought, "Gina, despite the tapes in your head, you really have a great life." So here's my list of why I can celebrate life,

  1. My kids laugh several times a day and I usually join them, regardless of how many times I find myself frustrated with parenting.
  2. My family has plenty of clean clothes, regardless of how many loads are still in the closets.
  3. We eat off clean dishes, and enjoy debatably healthy meals and snacks without want, regardless of what's piled up in the sink, or needing to be shopped for at Kroger.
  4. We have a beautiful home, regardless of the unending amount of picking up and straightening it needs daily.
  5. Homework gets done on time, regardless of how last minute that is.
  6. The boys love their room, regardless of how disastrous it is for anyone else's health and safety.
  7. My husband enjoys being with me, regardless of how difficult I make it to enjoy me sometimes.
  8. I turn out amazing work from my little black desk, regardless of what a catastrophe my office appears to be in.
  9. There are people walking around in a relationship with Jesus right now, because the Holy Spirit used me to help lead them there, regardless of how often I daily fall short of the glory of Christ.
  10. God has called me beautiful and I will be restored to physical perfection one day, regardless of the havoc my body has been through and the way I "feel" about it today.
  11. We have astonishing friends and family who we love being with, regardless of how often those relationships have been tested and refined by fire.
  12. Our bills are paid, our debt is diminishing, our budget is stabalizing, and we enjoy a healthy and fun standard of living, regardless of how bad I am at keeping it all straight and organized most of the time.
  13. God loves me, regardless of how often I think I don't deserve it.

And isn't that what it's all about. Walking with the Father who has it all in His hands. Who holds everything together with Christ, and works all things for the good of His glory. No worries, no fears, no failures with Him. Now to take a deep breath, put on my smile and make some headway this morning on the budget, the dishes, the laundry, the design work, the bible study, and the child calling for me to defeat Darth Maul with him on Lego Star Wars. . .

Saturday, September 6, 2008

God listens to us, and Ella listens to God!

God is just plain ol amazing. Our dog Ella was missing for several hours today. Jason and I went everywhere looking for her, poor Jason walked through head high weeds and was cut to pieces by bullnettles and more. I just kept praying, knowing God was in control. The boys paused their movie and sat praying for her, and Corban said, "I prayed five times over and over mom." I know it His will that Ella be part of our family. He hand picked her for us and she is perfectly suited to being our pet. After exhausting ourselves searching we left the back gate open and fed the boys lunch. Just now I was sitting staring out the window and Corban said, "Mom, look at this," And I said, "No, Corban, I just want to look out the window for Ella." He didn't say another word, he walked outside and in his precious little (loud) voice began calling for her from the porch. I started crying, listening to him call for her, and my spirit lit up and my hair stood up and I just began praying outloud, "Lord, answer the prayer of that little boy, grow his faith right now, bring her home now to his call." And, wouldn't you know it, she ran straight through the gate right up to him. Corban ran into me, and said, "Mom, I did it! I prayed and I yelled and she came back!" and I just told him "I am so proud of you, Jesus listened to your prayer! Way to go Corban." Way to go God.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Meet the Newest Member of the Crazy Roots

Welcome Julia!
Jason and I have been trying to decide on adding more pets to our household. The kids are begging, and I think Ella would really love a playmate. On Monday, I took Ella to the vet, and the cutest little blue eyes were staring back at me from the check out counter. I called Jason, and I took them home. Over the weekend, the kids had led me on a scavenger hunt around the house to a letter professing their love for me. They had heard the story of how Jason had proposed to me by sending me all over the A&M campus to various sites that were important to us which ended at the Century Tree, a traditional proposal spot on campus. So, when they arrived home from school there was a note on the door with their first clue. After going from the kitchen, to their bedroom, living room, their bath room, and more, they finally wound up in my bathroom where this precious gift was waiting. . .

They went crazy, jumping up and down, and saying, "Oh thank you momma, thank you, thank you, oooooohhhhhhh, aaaaahhhhh, I can't believe it, she's so cute," and more. . . They were all on the verge of tears. Nathan and Corban especially surprised me. They are so good at being grateful, and they just kept petting her, and hugging me, they didn't know which they wanted to do more. I asked them what they wanted to name her, and after a few vetoed names, Brooklyn said, "Julia!" which was funny because just the day before I was sitting in my room and thought, "I love the name Julia, if I had another girl, I might name her Julia." and then Brooklyn said that, and it was decided. I love how God always confirms for me ahead of time by giving me information that lets me know I'm making the right choices. He gave me the name on Sunday, so that when Brooklyn said it out of the blue on Monday, I would know He was in control of it all. So, she's a 6 week old gray delight. The kids have had a great time playing with her, and Ella still wants to carry her around in her mouth, she's a hunting dog, that's what she's created to do, so we're still training them to be good friends. As for the rest of us, we're smitten in love. . .