I’m a big fan of being proficient with forgiveness – after all, we get to practice almost everyday! ,)
There are LOADS of benefits that go with maintaining a lifestyle of forgiveness, but the point for this blog is to refresh a few tips & to give you an opportunity to share some effective tips you’ve learned as well. So here’s a quickie sarah forgiveness primer:
- be ready to forgive more than you’re ready to take an offense – sometimes it helps to have a forgiveness mindset
- fast forgiving is easier than elongated forgiving: anytime I’ve nursed a hurt, the forgiving process gets quagmired & almost moribund before I know it
- some people require more forgiveness than others; some of us are proned to the foot-in-mouth syndrome so please don’t make us squirm as we try to get better
- forgiveness is about personal liberty: for those of us who are Americans, its hard for me to understand why we are so adamant about our external freedom, but we can be virtually oblivious to our internal incarceration
- I want to be super generous with forgiveness because Lord knows He gives me more than I can comprehend; people who are stingy with forgiveness are usually mean & lonely 😦
What are some more suggestions?
I had an interesting experience a few days ago with a very unhappy person. This person was extremely upset about a difficulty & she was upset beyond what the circumstances called for. I began to think about the possible reasons why she could be over reacting:
- maybe she was having a rough day,
- maybe there are other pressures in her life where she vents her frustrations in unrelated situations,
- maybe she has some medical challenges that cause her to be easily upset
- worst of all, maybe she is an angry person
There’s a difference between being angry about something & being an angry person. One is based on situations but the other is an identity. The person who finds their identity in anger brings dissension into his conversations & relationships based on Prov 29:22 & 15:18. An angry person tends to lack control over their behaviors & conversations. And an angry person, based on what Proverbs says, is a fool (29:11).
In contrast, a person who is slow to anger tends to have a better life – they have great understanding (14:29, 17:27), they’re not easily offended (they overlook offenses – 19:11), they have more self-control than an angry person and a person who is slow to anger is better than the mighty (16:32).
Let’s be angry for the right reasons (against injustices, wickedness & evil), but let’s not be angry people 🙂
This summer I’ve been grilling lots more than a normal Summer, probably because we didn’t really turn on the air con for the Summer. Consequently, I’m more interested in keeping the heat outside rather than raising the heat inside 🙂
Nonetheless, I thought I’d pass along some thoughts & a few little recipes from the grill:
- chix breasts – marinade in italian salad dressing overnight if possible & grill (very tastey). This idea also works well w skewers
- grilled peaches, but not so whippy on the grilled apples; the peaches are nice w balsamic vinegar, but the apples I’ve got to work on & figure out how to improve
- veggies – any & all; I tried grilled beets last night & they weren’t too bad; all with olive oil & salt
- garlic – I tried grilled garlic last night (with olive oil & a touch of salt); they were ok as long as I made sure that they were really well toasted
- fish – my weak spot is that I can overcook the fish & make it dry
- flank steak – again marinated in salad dressing & grilled to medium rare
- pork chops marinated in soy (tastey)
Things I’ve thought about grilling, but decided to forego: celery, lettuce, carrots, avocados, cucumbers & eggplant.
One of my kids favorite things to do with my husband when the coals are pretty spent is to whip out the skewers, grill some marshmellows & make smores.
Can you please help me with some more ideas? As you can see, I’ll try just about anything – very few things are too zany for us ,)
Do you ever remember going to an amusement park & getting on a ride that looked really amazing, only to wish you could get off, halfway through the ride because it was too intense? I even remember saying, “how do you make this thing stop?”
Sometimes, life needs a pause button – it can get super intense. For me, life has been pretty intense of late (back to school prep, work deadlines, etc) & I’m interested in finding that pause button. So here are some things I’ve found to be helpful (feel free to add more ideas that have helped you):
- family meals – get in a few during the week & put your phones on silent: genuine conversations as a family can be very therapeutic
- instead of looking at time in 1 day increments, consider looking at time in 1 week or 1 month increments – giving demands & deadlines more working space than the daily crisis mode
- take a walk in the evening – did this a few nights ago & it was extremely helpful [minus the mosquitos ,) ]
- God time – don’t shortchange what fuels your heart, otherwise life can go south before you know what’s happening
- good diet & exercise routines – in crunch times, food & exercise can often be the 1st to get scraped; keep these routines as they can provide some good anchors to weather various storms & seasons
I’ve been thinking about love & its various expressions as they relate to different relationships (kids, parents, mates, friends, etc). In my thinking, I’ve also been considering not only what love is, but also what love is not & here are some take aways I’ve been considering. Love is not:
- selfish – hence my tweet from a few days ago about love making decisions in the best interests of the recipient & not merely the giver of love
- inconsistent – love is stable & as such, doesn’t merely function in the realm of feelings
- hateful, malicious, evil, cruel or sadistic
- apathetic – this word comes from the greek meaning to lack feeling or passion (a-pathy). Perhaps indifference is more deadly than guns, bombs & knives
- egocentric or prideful – maybe these would be synonyms with selfish
These are some interesting observations, but what is more important than observation is application. I know that I want to love well & authentically, but I get frustrated with myself because I fail. It is exactly these frustrations, among other things, that cause me to turn to God because God is love. I turn to God to live in a deeper relationship with Him so that He can love others more authentically through me.
We often associate growing pains with childhood – when our joints were sore as kids or teenagers for some unknown reason. We might have been growing too fast for our bodies to adjust without some aches & pains. I think this is also true as an adult but in different ways.
Let me give you a few examples:
- being less selfish is often a painful decision, but it is one that frequently reflects a level of growth & maturity as an adult
- being more selective about when & how we communicate shows that we are making progress from “blurting out” whatever could be flying through our mind; this is a noble goal, but it can require painful discipline to shut our mouth when we have something really “zingy” to say
- doing what’s helpful, constructive or even sacrificial when we don’t want to; I surrender “getting my way” for something I consider to be more important – for me this relates to letting Jesus use my life as a platform to express His will (hopefully, with minimal distortion)
- getting good at something I’m not good at; there are lots of schools of thought on this idea: stay in your sweet spot, do what you’re good at, maximize your talents & minimize your liabilities, etc. But in my life so far, I find that I don’t get the luxury to do only what I’m good at – I’m required to LOTS of different things, many of which I’m not good at. So here’s my choice: do the things I’m bad at with ongoing sloppiness, using the excuse that I’m just not designed that way OR do the things I’m bad at with the intent that I’m going to try to get better at them each time I have to do these things.
Maturity requires growth & growing can be painful. But I’d hate to become increasingly older & remain as immature as I am now 🙂
So I know alot of people do this already & it’s not unusual for me to be slow to figure things out, but I’ve been reading 1 chapter of Proverbs each day for the last few months & it’s been a very interesting experience. The main take away, so far, is that I really appreciate the practical wisdom it presents in such short & pithy insights – not too wordy 🙂
Here are a few more lessons I want to digest & integrate into my daily life:
- routine: what we do consistently on a daily basis can show not only our priorities, but also what we will be good at in 5, 10, 20 years, etc. Habits predict the future
- persistence: quitting & failing are often as complementary as peanut butter & jelly or salt & pepper
- wisdom: there’s a difference between information & wisdom; the pursuit of wisdom yields higher returns than the pursuit of information
What are some insights you’ve discovered from Proverbs?