"Do not expect to be treated fairly in this life. People will say and do hurtful things to you...mistreat you, try to view it as an opportunity to grow in grace. See how quickly you can forgive... Don't be concerned about setting the record straight. (Don't obsess) about other people's opinions of you, keep your focus on Me. Ultimately, it is My view of you that counts... I have clothed you in My righteousness and holiness...remember that My ways with you are much better than fair." (313)
As far back as I can remember I have been quite concerned with everyone being friends, or at least being friendly, with each other. Some of my earliest grade school memories involve sharing with someone who had been wronged, sitting with someone who was all alone, inviting someone to my house who was new and scared, giving up my place in the lunch line so someone could be near one of their friends, helping someone who was hurt or handicapped, giving gifts for no reason, other than to see them smile. I loved doing things just to surprise and please someone else.
Well, this may sound quite impressive, however, it has it's down side, too. When there was no way I could change or "fix" the situation, I could fixate on that dilemma until it totally absorbed my mind. As a child, it would be hard for me to focus on school work if I knew some little girl in my class was upset over something, even if I had nothing to do with it! So, I would come up with an idea that I hoped would fix the situation, helping her to feel OK about life!
This meant I could only focus on my own needs after all kinds of others' needs and expectations were met. So, imagine what happened when I married a pastor and there was a whole congregation of unmet needs, expectations and concerns that took priority! There was no way I could satisfy that many opinions! The problem exponentially grew when we had the boys and I felt torn needing to be vigilant over their needs and their various life challenges, too!
I soon learned this tendency to focus on others' expectations and concerns could absolutely drain energy from me...UNLESS...I had first focused on Jesus! Meeting with Him every day became my lifeline! It helped me to clear the clutter of issues that distracted and distressed me. His opinion of me and expectations are far more gracious and balanced. Even today, in the midst of daily demands, I work hard to stay primarily focused on Him!
I also find great strength in Joe. His personality, tendencies and spiritual gifts counterbalance mine and he helps me to realign my perspective and readjust my schedule to stay focused on Jesus and not on all the hurtful things people may say and do, not only to us, but to others.
As a refocusing reminder, I keep this sign above my desk at home...
Too Blessed to be Stressed...dmc