1.31.2014

Don’t Say You’ll Pray For Me

I’ve been convicted about empty statements. These are things I say to make a conversation a little more comfortable in the moment. But do I really mean what I’m saying?

Or empty statements can be little promises I allude to that give a needed lift to someone. But without a plan to actually keep that promise, do I really intend to keep it?

It’s not that these statements are wrong or bad or ill-intentioned. But they are empty at best and potentially hurtful at worst. People in my life deserve better than that.

I want to be a woman who exemplifies God’s Word by keeping my word.

Don't Say You'll Pray For Me

The Bible is clear that our words matter. Our words carry weight. Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Our words can be gifts.

But if we say things that have no follow-through, it can be hurtful. It’s like holding out a gift but refusing to give it.

Here are three of those empty statements I want to stop saying if I don’t have a plan for follow-through:

1. I’m praying for you.

Obviously, I do want to pray for people. And sometimes when I say this, I really have great follow-through. But sometimes I forget.

A great intention doesn’t make for a great prayer.

So, I need to pray for that person right then and there or I need to keep a journal in my purse to write down prayer requests.

2. Let’s get together sometime.

Either I need to pull out my calendar and schedule time with someone or be honest about my current time constraints. The people-pleaser in me struggles with this.

But I know when people say this to me without any follow-through, it hurts. While I can’t change it being done to me, I can make a heart policy that I won’t do this to others.

3. I’m good, how are you?

Understandably, sometimes this is the right, polite statement to say when I’m just quickly greeting someone. But I will also say this to others with whom I really should be more open and honest.

I can be reluctant sometimes to even let close friends in to the needs I have bubbling below my “I’m good” statements.

If I will be more brave with opening up, it will give my friends permission to do the same.

So, there they are. My empty statements and my convictions to do a better job of saying what I mean and meaning what I say.

What about you? Do any of these resonate with you? Is there one you want to commit to working on this weekend? Let’s chat about this in the comments below.

1.27.2014

The Song My Soul Needs

Sometimes my soul needs a song. And recently, “Last Word” is on my list of favorites. Its message is one that lifts me above what I’m facing and recalibrates me to the reality that Jesus always has the last word.

Today you may be facing a hard circumstance… a diagnosis, a break-up, a financial hardship, a rejection, a loss, or a loved one making choices that seem devastating.

I pray this song and the story behind it blesses you deeply. (For those of you reading this through e-mail, click here to watch the video.)

“Last Word” is from Elevation Church’s new worship CD, “Only King Forever.” Today, I’m giving away copies to 10 commenters who let me know what their favorite worship song is. (To download the album on iTunes, click here.)

1.21.2014

3 Questions You Must Ask Before Reacting

My heart raced as I saw the number pop up on my phone. Nothing in me wanted to have this conversation. I was beyond aggravated. Hurt. Angry. And tired of being misunderstood.

I answered the call with two goals in mind – to prove how right I was and how wrong they were.

How do you think that conversation went?

Not well.

This conflict happened over 5 years ago so the rush of emotion has dissipated and I can see more clearly how wrong my approach was.

I learned from that conflict. Hopefully, I learn something from every conflict – especially how to have better reactions. I’m so far from being in a place where I can shine my halo.

But I’m getting better.

While my initial thoughts when a conflict arises are usually those same old “I’ll show you” thoughts, I’ve progressed by not letting those leak into my reactions.

How?

By asking myself three questions:

1. What part of this issue can I own and apologize for?

There are always two sides to every issue. And no side is perfectly right or all the way wrong.

If I make peace with the part I need to own and apologize for ‘before’ the conversation, there’s a greater chance I’ll stay calm ‘in’ the conversation. Proverbs 15:1 is a verse I’ve memorized and recalled often, “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

2. How can I soften my heart toward this person so I honor them despite how they react?

Gosh, this one is hard. Really hard. But I know hurt people hurt people.

Usually the person with whom I’m having a conflict has some kind of past or current hurt in their life feeding this issue. Chances are that hurt doesn’t have anything to do with me but is adding to their emotional response in this conflict.

It’s easier to soften my heart if I can sympathize with their hurt I can’t see. If I can duck below my pride, honor will be my reward. Proverbs 29:23 reminds us, “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.”

3. If I knew this conversation was being video taped and then shown to people I greatly respect, how would this change my reaction?

What if I showed up to church this week and my pastor directed everyone to watch the screen for an example of a bad reaction? And then my face appeared. Have. Mercy. I. Would. Surely. Faint. #Call911.

While it is highly unlikely that our conversation would be recorded and viewed, it is very likely others are watching our reaction. Our kids. Our co-workers. Our friends. But here’s the one that really grabs my heart – my Jesus is very much present. Philippians 4:5 reminds us, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

I know every conflict has variables that must be considered. Some conflicts have escalated to the point where professionals must be called in to help. Be mindful and prayerful about this.

But for the everyday conflicts we all have, these questions are good to consider. If we control our reactions in the short-term, we don’t have to live with ‘reaction regret’ in the long-term.

3 Questions You Must Ask Before Reacting

If you found these 3 questions helpful, my book Unglued digs deeper into managing conflict in a godly way. Leave a comment telling me which question resonated with you the most and you’ll be entered to win 1 of 5 Unglued books I’m giving away today.