Do you speak poorly of your boss and how mean they are? In reality, you’re talking about your own lack of patience and understanding.
Are you gossiping to one friend about another friend who is bothering you? What you’re really doing is telling the one friend that she can’t trust you not to talk about her too. My mom used to say, “those who talk to you, talk about you” and I still use that wisdom to this day!
Do you bad mouth your spouse to your friends, family or on social media? Then you are simply showing your own lack of integrity and trust.
In the past I have fallen prey to talking poorly of others or, at the least, not leaving or changing the subject when gossip starts. However, these days I’m learning to keep my mouth shut unless it’s truly out of kindness. When I talk about people, I want it to only be in a good way.
So how do you get out of situations where people are speaking poorly of others?
This is not an easy situation. On one side you want to help the person that is talking through the issue but you also want to defend the person being discussed (since they are not there).
My suggestion is to simply ask why they are telling you this information. That usually indicates to them, you do not want to partake in the gossip and most of the time the subject gets changed. Secondly, you can state that it might be best to take the issues/concerns up with the person directly if they truly want a solution.
“ I can see this is difficult for you, you may want to talk with them directly.”
“ I don’t see how I can be much help, this sounds like a discussion for you guys and I hope you guys can work it out.”
Not all people who gossip do it to intentionally hurt others. In fact, divisive speech sometimes is meant to be cathartic (but honestly, it’s still not good). Studies also show that people often talk about other people as a way to avoid looking at something difficult or painful in themselves. The gossiper is likely hurting, scared, insecure, jealous or seeking attention and it’s possible you may be able to change the topic matter and help them instead.
Use this checklist, then excuse yourself from the conversation if it doesn’t sit well in your heart.
- Is the gossip cathartic in nature or vengeful?
- Is only one side of the story being told?
- Do stories or instances seem exaggerated?
- Is the gossiper seeking validation for their own feelings or behaviors?
At some point, we have been the victim of slander and the ring leader of the gossip circle.
We have all experienced the destruction gossip leaves behind.Whether we mean direct harm, or not, the result of gossip is always broken trust and hurt feelings.
Some quotes to ponder
“I resolve to speak ill of no man whatever, not even in a matter of truth; but rather by some means excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and upon proper occasions speak all the good I know of everybody.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
People gossip. People are insecure, so they talk about other people so that they won’t be talked about. They point out flaws in other people to make them feel good about themselves.” ~ Blake Lively
“Often those that criticize others reveal what he himself lacks.” ~ Shannon L. Alder
“If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.” ~ Aesop (c.620-560 BC)
One of my all-time favorites:
“Gossip needn’t be false to be evil – there’s a lot of truth that shouldn’t be passed around.” ~ Frank A. Clark
All along I have been telling my God about my struggles when I should have been telling my struggles about my God.
I have not been living a life of expectancy . What we receive from God depends on our level of expectancy. If we expect little, we will receive little. If we expect the impossible, then He will deliver.
Don’t let go of what you expect just because you don’t get it how you thought you were going to get it or in the time frame you wanted. As Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, Seek, and Knock.” Perserverance is the key!
God “works all things together for our good.” But you have to believe and expect that to be true! Like really believe that!
The secret to waiting is expectancy. When you believe God will do what He says, you will not give up waiting for His timing.
I see this in my own kids daily, as they ask me for snacks, drinks, screen time, etc.
When they ask I often respond with, “ not right now” or “in a minute”
Do they get impatient, sure, but they expect me to feed them and they believe they will be taken care of. I don’t always provide for them on their timeline, sometimes things have to get aligned before I can provide.
I realized through this epiphany, that I had lost my spirit of expectancy with my Father. I have called out to Him and He has said, “wait!” Instead of being patient and waiting for His time (like I expect my own children to do with me), I gave up on believing He would even show up at all.
My kids are also getting to an age where, as their parent they can expect me to provide, but they also need to actively participate. Often times, they will ask for me to get them something to eat to which I reply,” you can get up and get it.” As the provider, I got the food to the fridge, but they have to actively participate in feeding their hunger pangs.
Ugh! When God showed me this I was like, “okay God, I hear ya!”
Having a spirit of expectancy helps recognize that God is in control of the ebb and flow in your life but we must trust Him, and actively participate in our lives too. Sometimes He is telling us we have to get up, and go get what He has already provided.We are not victims, simply waiting around for God to feed us at our leisure.
Crisis-prone people are a storm cloud in otherwise calm skies.
They display a pattern of attention-seeking emotions, an excessive need for approval and boredom usually provokes a need for them to stir something up. Some other behaviors may include:
- constantly creating drama
- picking arguments
- thriving on emotional highs and lows
- complaining about being gossiped about
- gossiping themselves
- seeking attention in person or on social media
- taking on a victim mentality
If this resonates with you, know that seeking help through prayer can provide strength and hope.
1. Ask Holy Spirit to guide you on ways to restructure your thoughts and revisit your reactions and responses.
2. Ask God to help you distinguish a real crisis from a manufactured one, and to help you find the rewards in calmness rather than calamity.
3. When you feel angry and resentful, release those feelings to God.
4. When you feel empty, remember your identity in Christ.
Take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and be slow to anger (James 1:19).
God’s Word is ALWAYS truer than our worldly interpretations, and His commands are right, where our flesh driven tendencies and desires stir us wrong.
Does this sound like a friend or family member? Here is how you can help:
1. Pray for them
2. Have biblical boundaries and a strong heart. Love them but you don’t have to pick up the phone all hours of the night.
3. Lovingly point out the consequences of their crisis prone tendencies
4. Recognize when a discussion is spiraling out of control and redirected the conversation
5. Speak Truth over them, and focus your our heart on God to keep you stable.
And last, but not least:
6. You must forgive the neediness, the overthinking, the lies, and the unwarranted emotional outbursts. You may need to spend some time apart, but use it as an opportunity to seek guidance from God, not out of anger or punishment to them.
“Love covers all offenses”
(Proverbs 10:12, ESV).
Did you grow up being told you were dumb, worthless, irresponsible, or ugly?
Do you have horrible past relationships?
Constantly struggling with your failures from the past?
Are you ashamed with things you have done or said in your lifetime?
Today’s the day you speak life into yourself!
Your past no longer defines you and no longer matters!
Until your past is wiped clean you will always use it to describe you and confine you!
Have you ever written or drawn anything and had to erase it?
When you take an eraser to your mistake it’s not 100% gone, and darker imprints are always harder to remove; however, the erased image is so light that the new writing on top is more prominent, legible and becomes the final project.
Now, while you are erasing you can still remember and see the misspelling, the unclear thought, or the wrong sketch you made. In that moment you use the hint of the erased past to help you create a better rewrite. You use it to benefit you. You use it to make your new project even better than the original!
God does the same thing. He uses our past to make us better and to bring Him Glory. You can have a completely new story with God as the author. Allowing God to rewrite your story, doesn’t completely erase your past but it does erase the guilt and condemnation (dark imprints).
Ever go back five years later to look at your drawing or writing? Can you remember what you erased still? Can you even see it at first glance? Of course not!
Well, with a lot of energy, money, time and resources you can analyze it and uncover what was once written even after being erased and time passing. In fact, I’ve done that before- several times🤦♀️. I let God erase my past, rewrite my story, and then years later my flesh decided to be a sleuth!
Your flesh is tricky. Disguised as ruminating thoughts, what if questions, google searches, and social media stalking, your flesh will be happy to help you seek out your past. Reminding yourself of what was once poorly written gets you nowhere. It does, however, cost you time, money, pain and regret.
Research from the National Criminal Justice Reference service says that, “pencil writing is relatively easy to erase or at least to make almost illegible.”
Through Jesus our past can “ be illegible” too!
One researcher said, “When we rub an eraser across a pencil mark, the abrasives in the eraser gently scratch the surface fibers of the paper to loosen the graphite particles. The softener in the eraser helps to prevent the paper from tearing. The sticky rubber in the eraser grabs and holds onto the graphite particles.
Erasers work on friction and friction generates heat. As the abrasives in the eraser are rubbed against paper, friction produces heat, which helps the rubber become sticky enough to hold onto the graphite particles.“
God is our eraser. He is gentle, soft and careful enough to not tear our paper, but provides enough friction so we produce the heat He needs to grab our “graphite particles”.
God has the biggest eraser you have even seen. He can erase your past. Give Him your story, let Him erase it and rewrite it for you!
None of us set out to hurt people when we wake up each morning, but unfortunately we do. It is one of the worst feelings, when someone you care about tells you that you hurt them. So here are 4 ways you are more than likely hurting the people you love:
- Treating them as if they are you. Providing advice, constructive criticism, or even training, from the perspective that they should perform, think and act like you, is a surefire way to hurt people’s feelings. We all have different pasts, finances experiences, support systems, beliefs, values and other things that make us unique. We have to meet people where THEY are at and then move forward.
- Criticizing instead of Helping. Before you speak, get in tune with your intentions. Are you trying to build them up, train, encourage and help them? If so, review what you are going to say (and how you are going to say it) then ask yourself if someone you respected was saying it to you, how would you feel?
- Not realizing your perception is NOT their reality. What you say and do and what they hear and feel are very different. Most people feel hurt when your intentions do not match their experience. Saying it was not your intent to hurt someone with your words or actions does not simply make everything great again. Behavior change is needed. Reflect on the behavior and make changes the next time
- Using text or email to explain a tough subject. Tonality, voice inflection and facial expressions can not be seen or heard, from either party, when we use electronics. When discussing a hot topic, a blind spot, or something that could be misconstrued, a face to face conversation (or video chat) is best.
Work on these four things and watch your relationships grow and flourish!
When I sit too close to them, I inevitably suffocate them with my safety concerns and guidance.
I’m normally not a helicopter parent, we don’t call our kids free range savages for nothing. I have,however, noticed how easy it is to shout commands and concerns to them when I am within speaking distance. So after providing clear instructions, I decided to watch from a distance while they played.
I created more distance between me and the kids so the mindless and automatic “ watch your step” and “try going the other way” comments would take more effort then they were actually worth.
This is what I witnessed:
1. Stratton would test a rock to ensure it was safe to step on and then Tempie followed his path. (She trusted him)
2. When they made a poor stepping stone choice on the way across, they avoided that stone on the way back. (Learned from their mistakes)
3. They took a path, I wouldn’t have, it was not necessarily the safest, but it was extremely creative.
4. Stratton is a great leader (when I’m not telling him what to do)
5. They played longer than normal, probably because it was more fun and challenging
6. They felt extremely accomplished and proud when they were done.
7. They survived, had fun, and were safe without me having to dictate their every move
8. They didn’t ask me what to do every 10 minutes. They figured it out to the best of their ability
9. They didn’t keep looking to me for approval or in fear of not making the choice I wanted.
10. It was not how I would have played, but it was how they played and if playing was the goal does it really matter?
How often do we do this in our work life? When it comes to delegating tasks or letting go of responsibilities we tend to hover over people to make sure everything is how we want it to be.
Just like a mom, we hover because we care, we want the best for them, and we want to breed success. Unfortunately, we end up stifling creativity and poisoning our culture with distrust.
If you want to be a servant leader you must stop being a helicopter delegator. Just like with my kids, when you remain too close to the situation, it’s easy to find and comment on all the “little things.” To the person receiving all the, so called, “help” it feels like a band-aid slowing being ripped off. (It sucks!)
I imagine my kids playing on the rocks and every five minutes me commenting, correcting, suggesting or complaining to them (yes, out of love) but nonetheless consistently chipping away at their ability to think for themselves and learn from their own choices (good or bad).
The same is true for mentees and coworkers.
As servant leaders we must:
- Clearly define the goal
- Provide clear instructions/concerns
- Remain close enough to intercept any possible catastrophic issues
- Remain far enough away to allow people to “do their thing”
- Provide an opportunity afterwards to discuss the gap. (The gap is the difference between the clearly defined goal and what actually happened.)This discussion is a mentoring opportunity, and is done in one sitting with personal and professional growth and improvement in mind- not conformity.
It can be scary, unsettling and downright uncomfortable to sit back and watch things unravel differently then you “had planned.” However, if the goal is for leaders to create more leaders we must allow people to actually LEAD.
Will things always end perfectly? No. Can mistakes cost us time and money?Absolutely. But….. and it’s a big but. The freedom we inspire, allow and receive is immeasurable.
When we stop helicoptering, our children and mentees get the freedom to independently learn and grow. In all honestly though, as mentors and parents we are set free too.
- No longer do we have to worry about things being perfect.
- No longer do we anticipate what could go wrong.
- No longer do we feel the burden of everyone else’s mistakes and learning experiences
- No longer do we feel the need to criticize and correct everything in the name of “helping.”
Remember whether it’s your kids, your friends, or your employees: Leading people should always be about THEM and their experience, and when we hover, we make it about US and our intent.
Ever been upset, because you didn’t get what you deserved?
I worked hard, I deserved a promotion.
I sacrificed my 20’s to raise my kids, I should be able to chillax now.
I apologized to my friend, I deserve some grace.
I remained focused when others were distracted, I deserve to get my prize.
Lately, I have been thinking this way. I have been going over, everything I have given up and put on hold for my business, my kids, my family or even friends who I have spent hours giving advice and guidance to.
I think of the sacrifices I have made when it comes to time, money and resources.
Sometimes I think… all that.. and for what?
They don’t appreciate…
I still don’t have….
What do I have to show…
If only I would have…
Others don’t understand…
My flesh, and yours, wants to throw a fit when things seem unfair. We believe good people should win and bad people should lose. We believe you reap what you sow. We believe what goes around comes around- and when that doesn’t happen, we get mad and stomp our feet ( or is that just me?🤔)
This is the trap of delusional self-righteousness.
I’ve been a loyal wife
I’ve been a good friend
I’ve been an honest employee
I’ve been a loving parent
And what do I get in return? Ungrateful kids, disrespect from coworkers, unloving family members and your list can go on and on- right? (You fill in your blank)
What gives? Don’t we deserve better?
Paul says: there is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one (Romans 3:10-12); and the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)
Self- Righteousness and self pity have no place in our lives. I got a backhanded slap from God today!
The woe is me, I deserve better, things are unfair attitude is a way I have inflated my own goodness.
I don’t deserve the reminder God gave me today. I don’t deserve his enlightenment showing me where I have been fleshly driven. I don’t deserve the opportunity to repent, I don’t deserve to be cleansed of my sins. I don’t deserve peace and I don’t deserve his abundant grace and mercy.
But he gives it to me anyway!
The one thing in life that I truly DON’T deserve… I got anyway when Jesus gave his life for me.
The truth is we should thank God, we don’t actually get what we deserve.
Our life is for Him, we must stop making it about us.
It’s funny how submission has become a derogatory word. Many people equate the word submission with women being oppressed or abused-but we must look deeper.
Submission to God is not being oppressed, it’s in fact, the very opposite- it’s liberating!
Submission is saying: God is perfect, I’m not. Submission is agreeing that God’s plan, is better than our own. Submission is like a weight off our shoulders and a breathe of fresh air. Submission allows us to, tear down our facades, expose our weaknesses, and humbly come to Christ with our sin without fear of condemnation.
Initial submission brings us into God’s arms and allows Him to set up shop in our heart, but it must not stop there. We are not called to submit once, but to continually submit to Jesus and deepen our relationship with Him.
In Romans 6:13 God demands us to submit “every part” of ourselves to Him.
The more we surrender to God, the more our old self absorbed, fleshy nature is replaced with one that resembles Christ
How do we submit?
We humble ourselves. We must deny the power we want, and give up OUR control.
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).
It’s no longer about US! It’s about God’s wisdom, His and His power. Many times, this comes in the form of submitting to others, in the name of the Lord.
Where there is true submission, pride cannot reside.
Where there is true obedience, arrogance cannot reside.
But when there is true surrender, we are offered peace.
It is often in our greatest failures that we gain a greater understanding of grace – and God has shown me this first hand.
I am growing in grace. Overtime I learn more and more how to deny myself and the self assertion that has made me the successful person I am today.
I must not condemn myself, because that will hinder God’s plans for me. Instead I must, extend myself grace and learn from my mistakes.
It has been exposed to me that for years I have claimed to be a sincere believer, but my thoughts, behavior and actions were not in alignment.
I can no longer be a bold and influential leader while also allowing my default response
of fear to take over when things get uncomfortable or scary.
Humility is not insecurity, and vulnerability is not weakness. Contrary to what many may think, I am not giving up my unique gifts, by surrendering my life to God. I’m finally using my gifts, for God’s glory and God is showing me how to walk in humble boldness.
Therefore, I am so grateful that through repentance, tears, grace and humbleness, Lord, I surrender all to You!
Ever heard someone say, New Level, New Devil? There is a lot of truth to this statement. As you up level yourself, it seems like everyone has an opinion on you, your life and your past.
Our culture teaches that what we think, how we act, and who we are is the result of our past. To a certain extent, where you are in life is the result of your past choices and behaviors, but it is now WHO YOU ARE. Our culture pushes the idea that our past controls our present and therefore many of our friends and family judge us through the eyes of our past.
They just can’t seem to see us differently. To them, we are still the college drop-out, the pregnant teenager, the fickle dieter, the uncommitted friend, the chronic career hopper, the divorced mom of three, or the arrogant boss.
The Bible reverses this. In Ephesians 4:17-24 Paul instructs us to leave our old ways behind. He teaches us that our past ways were the product of our flesh driven thinking. Paul urges us to not allow our past to control us in the NOW. Instead, Paul teaches us that who we are now, In Christ, should overrule our past thinking and behavior.
Ephesians 4:17-24 NIV
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned
21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Who we are in Christ, the person we are now (today) should cause us to discard what we once thought, did and said as nonbelievers.
Our past should not be brought up, analyzed and obsessed on, by others or ourselves.
It is not who we were that matters, but who we are. We should rejoice and marinate in who we are, in Christ, and not what we were when we were without Him.
Once you are saved, it’s inevitable – there will be distance created between you and unsaved friends and family. However, by your behavior you can show them what it means to be a Christian, but you no longer need to be shackled by their opinions of your former self.
Ever notice some people when they are going through a struggle say things like:
“Everything will work out”
“God has a plan”
“It’s okay, I will be fine,”
Ever think, they are putting on a front, or not being honest about their struggle? I’m here to tell you – they are not lying. They are truly hurting, and may even doubt the very words they speak, but they are speaking life into their storm.
There are several moments in life that are major events: accidents, death, disease, etc… but how about the everyday whirlwind of strife that we encounter? The moments that we review in our head a thousand times. The ones that keep us fearful and anxious? We are called to speak life into all our struggles- big or small.
When tempers flare, disagreements dispense and overwhelm tries to consume us, we must speak peace and life into our struggles; our storms.
In Mark 4:39 Jesus didn’t fly off the handle, call the storm every name under the sun, sit on the boat and complain, or get caught up in gossip, fear, and anxiety- he spoke peace.
“Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
He spoke life!
When you feel like the devil is at work stirring up everything in your life: fear, anger, contention, bitterness, frustration, and sometimes he even opens old scars (yes, scars not wounds… you know the ones that had been healed)- what do you do?
Do you speak peace?
Do you speak life?
So while the struggle is real, so is our God. We become the ultimate peacemaker, when anointed with the Holy Spirit, we speak life into our struggles and our storms.