I've been reading a lot lately, not of the storybook kind, but of the devotional, blog, small article kind. In case you haven't noticed, there are some epically talented people on this round, bumpy mass we call Earth. I've shared before that my favorite thing to read is non-fiction, not because a crafty tale isn't good for the soul every once in a while, but because I like to know how people work through things - mentally, emotionally, relationally, and physically. While I think reality TV is a waste of time and a concept that should never have taken root, I think quite the opposite about blogs and the like. (Which is a good thing because that might classify me as hypocritical, or some such nonsense!) In case you are wondering, I do have a point.
I know it is common place to hear, "misery loves company". While that is a sad truth which plagues society and drives some people up a wall, I think the opposite is also true. I fully believe people like to know there is hope and something to look forward to on the other side of whatever it is they are facing. In addition to this, there are some who just like feel-good stories which happen to also be factual. I admit, these are the reasons I enjoy such things. That said, the icing on the cake for me is when these things merge with Biblical truths. It is so beautiful to read the way the Lord works in others' lives; it makes Him all the more real and personal. NOTE: I am NOT saying He isn't real and personal to me because He is. What I am saying is that I won't experience Him the same way (FACT - no one experiences Him the same way -- that is why it is called a personal relationship) other's do and I love to read how they are.
And it is THAT reason why I am writing tonight. To share a couple key takeaways I have from a blog I read today (which just so happens to double as a devotional I read from time to time).
1) Forgive others - this is a no-brainer, but sadly a very hard thing to do. I am guilty of this. There are some people that I forgive without batting an eye, and others who have hurt me in so many ways that I find it hard to forgive, or more so it gives me something to hold on to. I do that too much. Sometimes I hold on to things people have done and they don't even know they have done it. And I let it sit and fester and become this thing that has no business being a thing. So, yeah, forgive...it speaks volumes, sometimes without even making a sound. (BTW - I don't know if it is right or wrong, but there are people I've forgiven without even actually uttering the words to them...it helps.) The Bible tells us to forgive others as Christ has forgiven us.
2) Release anger - I want to tell you I am not an angry person. To some degree I can justify that, I'm not so much angry as I am a hurt person. However, hurt breeds anger. It does, really. It is almost like an adorable little Mogwai that gets wet...and for those of you of a certain age, I need not explain more, you get it. For others, click here. Like with Gizmo, I need to follow the rules. Thankfully, I know a great book that has a few.
3) Humble myself and ask for forgiveness - mmkay....yeah. So this. I want to start straight off with reasoning this away. As in, I have a reason for why I don't ask. It usually goes a little something like this, no one cares, it doesn't matter anyway, it will just make me look all the more stupid, yadda...yadda...yadda. The thing is, forgiveness is not about the other person! NOPE! Sure it is nice that you acknowledge a wrong and want them to know you admit your part, but it is more about building your character. Character building is hard. It hurts. And some of those people won't accept it, or even interact with you again (depending on what the situation is), but remember this is about you. In fact, the Lord, He's so much more concerned with how you are building your character and especially so when it is aligning to calling on your life. (You know, the one He placed there, just for you, like the coolest present in the whole world...outside of salvation. It's pretty awesome in that context, huh?!)
4) Focus on God's plan for me, not His plan for other people - I MAY have started crying when I read this one. I do this. A LOT. Not a little, tiny a lot like the size of the grand canyon, but a great big a lot, like the size of the Milky Way galaxy. It's true. I focus on all of the things God is doing for others and in others that I don't see, one lick of what He is doing here, for me, in me. I could go on and on about this, especially concerning one main thing, but it isn't the point of this paragraph. The thing is God has something unique for each of us, just as unique as we are and it is super great when that doesn't look like another's. It really is. I byline to this, and one I've been repeating to myself quite a bit this past week is, "Grow where you are planted."
I encourage you to read more blogs, articles, and devotionals written by various people; if for nothing else than broadening your understanding of others.