We are not haplessly at the mercy of our emotions or our circumstances. We have choices. Responses driven by our feelings can be dangerous. Those feelings may be true but they are not truth.
We have been given the power of the Holy Spirit to give us the strength to do what we do not have the strength to do on our own.
The Spirit can enable you to make these choices:
1. You can choose to grow through criticism.
Criticism stings. And it is unavoidable. We can demonize our critics. Dismiss the message along with the kernel of truth we may need in that message. OR. We can see it as a tool to transform us. If God allows it He desires to use it for our good.
2. You can choose to be happy in the place God plants your life.
We may not like where our lives have been planted. And it truly may have unlikeable features. What to do? Until we are replanted elsewhere we redirect our hearts. Focus on the strengths of your location. Work to involve yourself in the people and place around you. Caution: We telegraph our unhappiness to those around us and discourage our husbands.
3. You can choose to continue to love unlovable people.
Some people are hard to love. They may have wounded us, or our church or have lived a destructive lifestyle. They may be difficult or constant troublemaker. We need to surprise them with consistent love. It is the right choice because it is Christlike. Here is a reminder from Mark 5:46, the plain vernacular of The Message lands a direct hit on this issue:
“If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that.”
4. You can choose to stay vulnerable even when betrayed.
Vulnerability is taking a risk for a greater good. The greater good may be to allow you authentic community. You exposed yourself and allowed others in. Then they turned around and exposed you. Epic hurt at this point. “I’ll NEVER do that again” is one option. Often ministry wives retreat permanently. The risk is real but the greater good is worth the risk. Choose vulnerability.
5. You can choose to trust God when you feel He is out of sight.
Life on this planet will include moments when God seems out of sight. He has gone silent, unclear or allowed the unwanted. We just sang this recently: “When darkness seems to hide His face. I rest on His unchanging grace.” Good circumstances can prop up our faith. When those good circumstances are removed we are reminded of what the essence of faith truly is: “We walk by faith and not by sight.”
6. You can choose to forgive when wounded.
Unforgiveness is a pernicious root. Our hearts often want to keep score and remain unoffended. Wounds will come, great or small ones. Forgiveness is not just about others it is about our spiritual growth. Many in ministry walk around with bitterness and resentment. It’s a poison. Choose forgiveness.
7. You can choose to faithfully and fearlessly love your husband.
An old phrase I heard at marriage event Rick and I attended years ago is this: “love is a choice.” Staying in love is a choice. Once again we are not held captive to the fleeting highs and lows of a love meter. Not to oversimplify this issue but we can “sow love” into our marriages by choosing love.
Here’s the secret to our choices:
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
Published June 9, 2014