Recently I received a surprise email from Lorri Allen, journalist on staff with Family Life Radio. We connected at a lunch meeting and have been email/Facebook-chatting ever since.
Yesterday when Lorri and I met for lunch (yes, again–hey, we both enjoying eating!) she gave me a copy of her new book, It’s All Good News: Encouragement for Every Season. I liked what I read, so I asked her be my guest blogger today. If you’ve ever felt like an outsider (I certainly have!) I suspect you’ll identify with Lorri’s story.
“It was the Williams reunion, and I was having a ball. I was related to all these nice people I’d never met before. They were courteous, giving, godly–and great cooks!
“As an only child who moved from school to school, I had always felt like an outsider. But this day, I belonged. I was part of the club! People here knew the grandfather I never met when he was a young, handsome war hero. People here were taught in school by my grandmother. They liked me not because I was the speaker, the writer, the boss, the journalist, or the wife of a moviemaker, but because I was family. In fact, they didn’t even seem to care what I did. . . only about whose I was.
“Heaven will be that way–the biggest and best family reunion ever. We will be members of the only club that really counts. We won’t feel like lonely outsiders. We will belong. We will love and be loved. We will be important not because of our job titles, accomplishments, or who we married … we will be important because of whose we are.”
When you get tired of hearing all the bad news, read Lorri’s 1-2 page stories/devotionals and you’ll walk away encouraged. You can buy It’s All Good News on Amazon or at her publisher’s website by clicking here. Find out more about Lorri on her website www.lorri.com.
So, I’m wondering: when have you felt like an outsider? And what’s it like knowing that you’ll be one of the “in-crowd” in heaven?
When I was a kid we had a standing joke that it was okay to talk to yourself, as long as you didn’t answer back. Well, I’m long past childhood and I’ve discovered just about everybody does both!
What do you say to yourself? Is it nice or not-so-nice? This morning a friend shared with me that when she’s alone she calls herself names, but she never does that when anyone else is around. She just keeps it internal then.
Perhaps your self-talk is pretty nice, yet it’s filled with half-truths like: “I should keep all my problems to myself.” “People must agree if they genuinely care about one another.” “I must stay busy all the time if I want to be an effective witness for Christ.”
Even slightly-negative self-chatter can thwart growth and keep you from maintaining healthy relationships with yourself, others and God. BUMMER. Absolutes like “I must never be afraid” or Over-generalizations such as “Men are always like that–I can’t expect any better” can keep you in the status quo OR send you spiraling downward. DOUBLE BUMMER.
Yet relief and growth will take place when you and I exchange our half-truths and disapproving self-talk for realistic and grace-filled statements. For example: “Sometimes the unknown future scares me, yet with God’s help I’ll gain courage to move through the fear.” Ahhhh. RELIEF.
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Jn 8:32
Not everyone will like you or agree with your decisions. (Bummer!)
Some may reject your values, doubt your credentials, or clash with your personality. It can cause you to be overly-concerned about what others think. (I get that, because it happens to me, too.)
The Apostle Paul mentored young Timothy and encouraged him to live wisely and courageously as the person God called him to be. (1 Timothy 4:12-14.) Yet Paul knew the truth: Only God is perfect. He is “the blessed and only Sovereign…who alone has immortality” (1Timothy 6:15-16).
As did Timothy and Paul, you and I will make mistakes. Some folks won’t appreciate what we say or do. Understandably, we can be hurt by others’ negative reactions.
Worrying about another’s response to us robs our lives of freedom and joy. This week I want to relax, breath more deeply and cease from taking responsibility for how someone thinks or reacts. It’s not my responsibility.
It’s an ongoing process, yet one thing that helps me immensely is this: Not everyone liked Christ, either. And He was totally faultless!
Your Turn: When your inner-critic bombards you with worry-producing questions like “What if she doesn’t like me? or “What if he disagrees and gets angry?” what helps you relax and release?
God doesn’t use a cookie-cutter method to produce good in people’s lives. Sometimes we put God in a box, making declarations like, “God healed me this way; He’ll do it the same way for you” or “Here’s how He helped me choose a partner; just wait—God will work this way for you, too” or “Here’s the Bible-study plan I use; you should, also.”
With the Egyptians hot on the heels of the liberated Israelite people, God changed His protective tactics. For days, God’s angel had effectively led them from the front of the ranks. But now God moved the angel to the rear. As a result, the approaching Egyptians couldn’t see the Israelites and Moses guided the people safely across the Red Sea. (Read Exodus 14:19-20.)
This is a story of how God altered the way He had worked previously in the lives of the people he loved. He just might do the same thing with you. He has all the diverse resources in the universe at His command. Even though He may have never moved in a specific way before, you need not panic; God knows how to protect you and to grace you with what you need to grow and mature.
You want to join me in prayer right now: Lord, sometimes You work as You have before; other times, You surprise me. I don’t have every answer, so I’ll step aside. Do Your job in Your way.
Your turn: When has God surprised you by the different approach He used to bring about good results in your life or the life of someone you love?
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.