I was visiting with friends several months ago about an upcoming week of scheduled meetings, personal projects, and a situation with an individual that required kid gloves and a calm heart, because no matter what path I had taken I had not been able to make the progress or connection needed for something we were working on. This was also a situation that would continue to suffer if I did not find the right approach. I went on to give my friends generalities about this particular struggle and how the situation had literally exhausted my emotions and patience. I had been consistently praying about this burden for a couple of years. And, I felt like I had to admit to God that I had somehow failed in my attempts to walk alongside this person. I had offered assistance whenever a tough issue would arise. I had contributed time and resources to show I was sincere and made a genuine effort to be a part of the process. I tried to model His kindness and still nothing changed. I prayed often for the Lord to throw me a bread crumb. For Him to show me what my next step should be. And yet, here I was, faced with another meeting and I was dreading it. I was so totally frustrated and my frustrations caused me to believe nothing would ever change. How could that be possible? Why was it taking so long and would I ever see a break through?
My friends were listening to me describe the ups and downs of this experience and they could hear the anxiety in my voice. They continued to offer words of comfort and encouraged me to stand strong and remember that He never gives us more than we can handle. And then out of the blue one of them piped up and said, “Well if this is what you have ahead, then girl, you better get your Jesus on.” I started to laugh and before I knew it we were all laughing. She was so sassy when she said it and I appreciated the humor. We talked through possible scenarios and things I needed to prepare for. And, then it hit me. She was encouraging me to go into the situation with the armor of God firmly strapped on. It certainly could not hurt to go in to what I deemed to be somewhat of a battle, strengthened with truth, righteousness, faith, the word of God, the Good News and the protection of salvation.
God’s word tells us in Ephesians 6:13 to put on the full armor of God, so when the day comes that we are faced with darkness that we may be able to stand our ground, and stand firm. Darkness wears many different masks and constantly nips at our confidence, our courage, and our ability to shine bright for Christ. That’s what the evil one does best—he attempts to mislead us and causes us to doubt who we believe in and what we stand for.
My friend’s words definitely hit home and they prompted me to pray even more about the situation, to consider my choice of words, my body language, my attitude, and to be open to the direction the conversation might go. At the very least, I had to go into this trying to find the positives. It was time for all of the negatives to go away because that is just not who I am. But still, the thought lingered as to why, after such a long period of time had there been no progress, no connections and no common ground established?
What I needed to remember was this was God’s timing and His will. We somehow want what we want, when we want it, and that includes allowing darkness to seep in and control our thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” How reassuring to know our Father is with us every step of the way. How comforting to know He stands beside us and gives us courage to face the challenges and difficulties with confidence.
We will continue to face situations that wear on us, make us second guess ourselves, try our every last nerve, and cause us at times to have a short fuse. There will always be those individuals who wear drama on a daily basis, as if changing outfits, and if there is nothing going on to garner attention, they manufacture it. There are those who won’t listen, those who choose not to listen, those who create agendas that are self-serving and self-promoting, and those who intentionally launch verbal attacks or resist any opportunity to work together. It is only human nature to eventually feel beaten down, frustrated, and wonder if we should even continue to make the effort. After a long time of asking that question God used Joshua 1:9 to speak to me during a time of prayer. He whispered, “Have I not commanded you Mitzi? You need to be strong and courageous. I do not want you to be terrified or discouraged, for I am with you wherever you go.” I cherish the intimacy I have with my Heavenly Father and I was thankful for hearing His whisper in my ear.
I can tell you just a few short weeks ago my prayers were answered. When I went into that meeting, (you know the one I was dreading), I was outfitted in the full armor of God and praying for courage and strength. As we tend to do when we’ve been hurt, we are reluctant to talk or participate and basically we just do not put ourselves out there. But when the conversation started between those of us in attendance, I could not believe the change of heart revealed through words, actions, attitude, and the willingness to work together. I was so thankful to see progress and a step in the right direction. It was so reassuring that my God who had been listening and tending to this situation all along, revealed in His timing, the perfect answer, at the perfect time.
I do believe that even in the midst of struggles, it is important for us to continue our journey, and be a light for others. We will never be perfect, but we have the comfort of knowing that God is our stronghold. He will deliver the necessary results, orchestrate a resolution at the most interesting time, and restore relationships to the fullest. John 8:12 reminds us, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
As we look to the week ahead I encourage you to pray through the difficult situations you may encounter and for the people in your life who need an extra measure of grace. And, as we make our daily walk with Him, remember to ‘Get Your Jesus On.’ I’ll be praying for you.
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