Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Do People and Circumstances Have Way Too Much Power in Your Life?

I thought we were friends.  Good friends.  Great friends!

We were about the same age and had children about the same age. We spent a lot of time together while the kids played and we talked and laughed.  We did things together.  We talked on the phone.  I encouraged her and prayed with her as she suspected there was something seriously wrong with her mother’s memory.  They went to our church.  She taught our son in pre-school.  She attended the Bible study I taught.  We were friends.

But I was wrong.  Very wrong.

And I had no idea how wrong I was until I phoned her one afternoon to check on her…she had not been to Bible study for a few weeks and had been acting distant.  Different.  Aloof.  Detached.

That phone call changed much….and it changed me more than it should have. 

She began to attack everything about a woman, as a mom, as a Bible teacher, as a friend—every aspect of my life was hit.  She then blasted my husband and his leadership and his preaching.  Then it was our kids that were the target.

I was devastated.  I was a pool of blob on the floor in tears.  This conversation went on for over an hour.  I was immobilized.  Shattered.  Distressed.  Shocked.  So very sad and hurt and wounded and indignant and stunned.

One particularly troubling statement she made was that she thought she was just a ministry to me.  Something on my to-do list that I simply checked off with each phone call and McDonald’s lunch and play date with the kids. 

A ministry and not a friendship?  Really?  How did I let that happen?  Was it me that failed or was it her that misinterpreted?  What was I to do with this information?

Once I pulled myself out of my bed and the tears finally dried I decided to quit teaching Bible study.  After all, she said I was a terrible teacher.  I was hesitant and fearful about making friends.  After all, she said I wasn't a friend.
I also wanted to quit being a mom and a wife...because of what she said...but I couldn't...that was not feasible or practical.  I certainly did not believe my husband was a poor leader or an inept pastor nor did I believe what she said about my children but I did believe the dreadful things she said about me.

I was terrible.  Awful.  Horrible.  A terrible friend.  Teacher.  Everything.  I believed it and acted on it.

Why did I believe what she said instead of what God said?  Why did I give her so much power over the decisions I made?

This is what I now claim over and over….something a dear friend shared…

“Stop giving people and circumstances so much power in your life.”
I am now back teaching Bible studies.  I also realized that, yes, friendship is a ministry….friends minister to each other all of the time and it is beautiful and important and significant and OK….not something erroneous or distasteful or objectionable.
  • Who do you give way too much power to?
  • What circumstances do you give way too much power to?
  • What or who determines how you feel or think or react?
  • Is it people or circumstances?
  • Is it the Holy Spirit?
Oh Lord, forgive us for giving people and circumstances way too much power in our lives!!  We long to be controlled by Your power and the Holy spirit...not people and circumstances!

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