Today, it seems like being offended is the new trend. Don’t get me wrong, we all feel and experience hurt but I’m referring to the voluntary action of remaining offended, just because you feel as if you have “right” to. It seems as if people are preparing themselves to be offended. Think about it this way….
How many times have you convinced yourself that you have a “right” live in offense? How many times have you made a decision based on your offense? Now think about how many minutes, hours, days, or even years you’ve spent living in offense…crazy, huh?! As “right” as you may think you are, the truth is, you’re only creating a 6×8 frame for someone to live in. And guess who the prisoner is? Its YOU!
Living in offense keeps you captivated. Your decision making is not as stable as it should be. Your moods and emotions shift with the wind. Your drive and stride is fueled by irrelevant matters, such as haters and revenge. You lose focus of your goals. And the things that should really matter begins to fade into the backgrounds of insignificant time wasters.
Life is too precious to not live free. It’s time to free yourself. Go on and forgive that person. Let go of the guilt. Accept the apology that you may never hear. Set up the meeting to talk it out. Reconcile. Do what ever you have to do. But what you CAN NOT afford to do is live another day in offense. It doesn’t matter what kind of “right” you feel entitled to, stop hurting yourself because you have a “right” to. Is it really worth holding up your own progress? Is it really worth wasting more minutes, hours, days, or even years?
I think we could all agree that storms are uncomfortable. Not only are they uncomfortable, they are also an inconvenience, especially when you are trying to get somewhere. The torrential rain, the boisterous winds, and the loud thunder can sometimes be a deciding factor in if we choose to move or stand still. This can easily be related to life. When we experience the storms of life, we tend to let that particular storm be the deciding factor of if we will continue to move forward or not. This should not be.
God has equipped us with everything necessary to not only withstand but to also keep moving during a storm. Think about your car. Your car doesn’t have the option to say, “I only drive when its sunny.” The car was made to drive through any weather conditions. The body of the car can take the impact of rain and hail without falling apart. Not only can the car continue to move during these conditions, it also protects what’s on the inside. The riders or contents on the inside of the car is shielded from the storm that’s going on outside. This can also be related to life. We must protect the purpose and the contents that have been placed on the inside of us. Don’t allow the situations to drown out your gifts and ideas. Don’t allow the winds to blow away your passions.
One area the enemy specializes in is blurred vision. He makes the path look cloudy and dark because he knows that instead of walking by faith as we should, we often times walk by sight. And if we can’t see, we become discouraged because our human senses are limited. When we become discouraged, we tend to stand still. Now think about the car again. What are windshield wipers? They clean the windshield from things that blur your vision. Your windshield wipers have the capability to perform faster or slower, depending on the level or storm you’re facing. You also have a defrost feature in your car. This function controls the humidity and the visibility on the inside of the car. Without this feature, the windows would be foggy and visibility would be limited. But when you pair the defrost and the windshield wipers, you’re able to continue driving through the storm without fear of crashing into the unseen or the unknown. This is how God is with us! When we acknowledge Him, He directs the pathway for us. Not only does He direct it, He also clears it. He shows us why our faith in Him is so much more important than our human sight. He is waiting to direct your path, even in the stormy conditions. But you have to acknowledge Him in all of your ways. Your 5 senses are not able to give you the navigation that you need. Let Him direct you.
God has given us every thing needed to survive the storm. Even if it looks scary and it seems unending, you have to know that storms must pass over. But while you’re in it, don’t fret. Don’t stop driving. Don’t stop moving. You’re protected. You’re covered. And your direction is clear. Sitting in the storm waiting for it to pass only prolongs the rain in your life. Make a decision to move out of the storm. Just like the car, you were built to withstand the conditions. True, it may bang up the shell a little but what’s on the inside of you will still remain protected and the manufacturer can repair any and every piece of damage.
Storms eventually die and you were not made to die in it. You were made to outlive it!!
I remember writing a blog a few months ago about leeches. You know, leeches, the ones that just want to benefit from you and ride your wave and that’s their only way of surviving? Yea, those. But this is a little different. These are the friends that may be their own definition of a boss. They may have their own successful businesses or be book writers or even be in ministry but their character and personality are just not conducive to where you are or where you may be headed. Those friends. Does this make them less of a friend? Certainly not. They could very well be great friends but the atmosphere they create could be toxic to your purpose.
Case in point, if you hang around people who pride themselves in being rude, being disrespectful to others, and are trouble makers, chances are, some of their attributes will rub off on you. Before you know it, you’ll find your self-revenge or “clapping back” when you know you should just ignore and move on. So ask yourself a question, are my friends healthy for me? Of course a self-check is always in order. This means that we should always look at ourselves in the mirror and evaluate what we see. Honestly ask yourself, be it good or bad, am I displaying some of the attributes of my friends? Have I conformed to who they are? Have I become my friend?
This is very important in the life of a believer. Your surroundings are the breeding ground for whatever seed is being planted in your life! Maybe you heard a life changing word over the weekend and it pumped you up about your next level…but you got around that one friend that carries negative vibes and just like that, the word that had you so excited has been silenced. The word was planted but the environment did not carry the necessary items to help it grow and manifest. This may seem like a shallow point but it happens daily.
Watch your surroundings. Protect your atmosphere. I’m not saying cut anybody off or disconnect from anyone. I’m simply saying, learn the level of friendship and the limits that come with it. I heard a Pastor say “emotional immaturity causes us to think that cutting people off is the solution.” This is so true. But what if God has not told you to disconnect, rather to just step back and guard your environment? Maybe you’re still supposed to be connected but the space invasion is too much.
Your surroundings matter. Be sure to protect them.
One thing I’ve learned is everybody is not assigned to you! There will be some who will cling to you because of the idea of you or because of the benefits you can bring to them but ultimately, they are not for you.
For a long time I struggled with that. I thought I could help everybody and I actually tried until I found out that some people didn’t genuinely want my help. They just wanted to be connected to me! I quickly found out that this was dangerous because they didn’t have my best interest at heart. This showed me that they really didn’t care about my well-being or my purpose but at any cost, they just wanted to be able to say we were connected some kind of way. It was more of a leech relationship than a mutualistic interaction. After all, all leeches need is a steady supply and a ride to the next destination.
I realized that more drama and confusion was being created in my life because I was subjecting myself to this one-sided relationship! I’ve never lived a drama-filled life and I didn’t like it. I hated the fact that my peace had been disturbed and I constantly felt drained. It was because I allowed leeches to suck the life out of me. Not only that, but I noticed how I had began to lose focus and distractions started multiplying. This was because I was giving all I had to help the leech but I wasn’t receiving anything to replenish what I had given out. I had developed and harvested way too many one-sided relationships and it was greatly affecting me. So I released.
I shut off the valve that was supplying fuel to the leeches. And I realized that once I shut off the valve, the leeches didn’t die. They simply found another place to draw fuel from. And from that, some continued to drain others and some actually developed mutualistic interactions. Those that developed mutualistic interactions puzzled me. I wondered why wasn’t it a mutualistic interaction when they were connected to me. As time progressed, I realized that I had become comfortable with supplying and that’s all they were searching for at that moment, a supplier! But the next place demanded that mutualistic interaction. This meant that the leech would either grow up or die because the supplier demanded it!
Outside of the biology world now, think about the leeches in your life. Have you lost sight of your vision due to constantly giving your all to one specific area? Is it a one-sided relationship?
Important question: Can the same people you are pouring into, pour into you?
Conscious effort time. Are you okay with being a supplier? Is it that important to you just to be connected to someone but not experience a healthy growth from it? You decide.
Sometimes we go through things in life that places us in compromising positions. We find ourselves emotional, weak, and sometimes damaged. When “life” happens and it doesn’t feel good, we become vulnerable. We become unstable in some areas. In times of vulnerability, we tend to seek for some sort of counsel or some sense of direction. This is not uncommon. We have established this longing to feel whole again. We want to feel safe and guarded. Being vulnerable makes us feel targeted, unprotected, insecure, and sometimes we even feel foolish and paranoid. One definition I liked was “open to attack.” And this is very true. It is very hard to walk in vulnerability and immunity at the same time. One over powers the other.
While we are vulnerable, we seek for wholeness or something to make us feel stable. It’s uncomfortable to constantly feel open or defenseless. So sometimes we find ourselves being open to all things. This is not good. This is how we find ourselves following unsound doctrine and opinions. We find ourselves digging a deeper hole. We find ourselves following the counsel of the ungodly. It is imperative as a believer that we follow the outline that has already been made for us. Even though we hurt and it does not feel good, we still have to use wisdom while we are in the healing process.
One thing I have learned, it’s okay to ask for advice but ultimately, YOU have to decide if the given advice is applicable to your life. Truth is, they have to live with the advice given but YOU have to live with the decision you make afterwards. Don’t allow your vulnerability to cause you to be tossed back and forward in the wind. Remain solid in Him. If you seek for counsel, be sure to look for stability in their life. Why would you allow and unstable person to guide you to stability?
Vulnerability can be defeated by closing up the areas that appear to be open. Become impenetrable. Replace those voids and gaps with promises and prayers. Occupy your time with productivity. Guard your eyes, your ears, and mostly, your heart.
Once you overcome being vulnerable, you’ll find that you have developed an unexplainable courage and a strength that pushes you in ways you would have never imagined!