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Archive for the ‘what I really want…great relationships’ Category

Have you ever met someone and just connected?  Like your best friend in elementary school.  You never disagreed on what to play at recess. It was obvious…Charlie’s Angels, and you never argued over who played which character.

Well, now as an adult, you enjoy your weekend with your family running here and there, watching this sporting event, driving to that dance class….you get the point.  Monday rolls back around and you are at work, and suddenly the music starts in your head.  You know the one, that old western ditty that plays when the bad guys enters the scene.  It is your arch rival.  Mortal enemies.  Okay, so maybe I am being a bit melodramatic…..but, the office isn’t big enough for the both of you, so you strategically plan your day around avoiding “that person”.  The funny thing is,  it appears you are the only one who hears the theme music or sees the adversarial relationship that you are involved in. 

You send your kids off to school with “play nice”, while you are strategizing for your showdown at noon.  How do we reconcile these thoughts, feelings and behavior with what Jesus wants for us.  Psalm 139 tells us that God knows us, from the beginning, He created us to be just who he wants us to be—which means the other person is just who God wants them to be also.  More importantly, Colossians 3:12-14 gives us a better description of what a Christ follower should look like…it says:

                “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Instead of dreading going back to work on Monday, try preparing yourself with these qualities ahead of time.  Choose them, just like you choose your outfit for the day.  And commit to following through regardless of how others respond.

There is no guarantee that your co-worker will become your new best friend and always play nice.  And you don’t have to go out to lunch with her or share a coffee break.  But if you are putting on kindness each day, it might just drown out the creepy western music you have been hearing in your head.

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About 2 years ago I was presented with a new work opportunity that would provide added flexibility for my family in an industry near to my heart.  This opportunity was in a family owned business of very close friends of mine. 

Before leaving my previous job, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I met with the owners of the company and discussed my priorities with them, which included placing my family above my job and our friendship before our work relationship.  I clearly stated that if they felt that my priorities as a wife and mother and our friendship would not be jeopardized then I would come and manage their office. 

This started a new chapter in my life filled with many joys and celebrations as well as multiple challenges and difficulties. My grandma’s influence and the positive surroundings that I was so fortunate to grow up in have truly impacted how I have handled the difficulties and challenges that I have been faced with in this new job opportunity.  Here are some of the things I have learned: 

* Practice What Grandma Preached.  She enjoyed sharing quotes and poems with us.  In the kitchen, it was “Many Hands Make Light Work” and around her huge game table it was “If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Don’t Say Anything At All.”   But my favorite poem and one that she encouraged us to memorize, goes like this:

 “I have to live with myself and so

I want to be fit for myself to know.

 I want to be able as the days go by

Always to look myself straight in the eye.

 I don’t want to stand with the setting sun

And hate myself for the things I’ve done.”

* Working for a boss who comes from a very different background and upbringing, and who holds a unique outlook on life has provided an opportunity for conflict to arise in the office. Ephesians 6:18 says to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  Be alert and always keep on praying.  I have witnessed many confrontations among my boss and other co-workers that I have found myself in quiet prayer until the discussion subsides.

*Fortunately, having my trust placed in the Lord and knowing that He is my ULTIMATE BOSS, allows me to enjoy my time at work.  As long as I keep working to please God then I can expect to receive His favor, which is worth more than a paycheck or pat on the back from an earthly boss.

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Is there such a thing as great in-law relationships? Family dynamics can be complicated, to put it mildly. Add in a person from a completely different family, with different upbringing, different ways of seeing and handling things…complicated becomes challenging very quickly and in-laws start looking more like out-laws. Maybe for you, this challenge is with a new brother-in-law marrying your sister, or perhaps you have a unique parent-in-law, or a daughter-in-law who marches to a different beat…regardless, this relationship is something that you would like to be great but somehow it isn’t.

Ruth and Naomi had their share of challenges. With two different cultures colliding, not to mention the generational gap, you would think this relationship doomed rather then destined for greatness. Yet these two ladies have gone down in history as one of the most lovely relationships the Bible ever recorded.

Here are a few reasons why:

*The widow Ruth had a history of faithful kindness towards Naomi’s son and also to Naomi, her mother-in-law.
Ruth 1:8 “May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me.”
Principle: Great in-law relationships start and finish with the simplicity of faithful kindness.

*Ruth humbly took the risk of pursuing Naomi’s friendship, even when Naomi didn’t appear receptive.
Ruth 1:16:“Don’t urge me to leave you…Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.”
Principle: Great in-law relationships require humility and risk on both sides.

*Ruth and Naomi were committed to good communication.
Ruth 3:16: “When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, ‘How did it go, my daughter?’ Then [Ruth] told her everything Boaz had done for her…”
Principle: Great in-law relationships thrive through careful listening and sharing with one another.

God is a God of relationships, and He desires us to have great relationships with each other, particularly in our family. Pray today and ask God to bring healing and wisdom in your relationship. He would love to do that for you and will walk with you through the entire process.

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Romans 12:16: “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

Have you ever heard a 5th grade band performance? There may be pockets of greatness, but combined it is absolute musical chaos. There is no harmony. Individual honks and squeaks break through moments of awkward silence. The instruments seem unable to blend together in a pleasing way as the instructor sweats his way through the concert.

But take these same kids four years later, and the performance sounds completely different. Perhaps perfection has not been reached, but the song is recognizable. Silences are intentional, and not broken by someone getting off time. In short, the performance is enjoyable without earplugs!

The difference between the two is time and effort. Relationships can work much the same way in our lives. Harmony isn’t always going to be easy or automatic with those we rub against daily. We have rough edges and they have rough edges. But as we humbly pursue great relationships, we can see improvement, and those rough edges soften.

Think about your life. Who are you in relationship with? Is it great? Or could it use some improvement. Pray and ask God to make this verse today your own inspiration to pursue a great relationship with that person. Ask Him to help you take the time and put forth the effort that living in harmony will require. And wait expectantly for His blessing of a great relationship!

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Coach Norman Dale, played by Gene Hackman in the movie Hoosiers, spoke these words of encouragement to his small, inexperienced, “underdog” basketball team before they stepped onto the court to play in the regional championship game.

“…If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we’re gonna be winners.”

Contrast that with the acts of careless coaches who in striving to win: scream, demean, humiliate, neglect…throw chairs…you get the picture. You may have been on such a team or have had a child in that unfortunate position.

As a former team member, coach, teacher, and now parent. I am keenly aware of how influential our words, tone of voice, body language, and lifestyle are on those we are leading.  We can choose to encourage and build up or we can discourage and tear down. Either way the results will change a life.

The bible has many great mentors to emulate. To name a few: Timothy had Paul, Ester had Mordecai and the Apostles had Jesus. Taking a closer look at these examples would be a great exercise this week. For today let’s look at what Paul said to the young Thessalonian church in 1 Thess 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

A word of encouragement given at the right time can make the difference between winning and losing. It can also assist someone in reaching their full potential and experiencing greatness.

Who do you know that could use a word of encouragement today? Who has encouraged you? Do you know someone who has been “torn down” by discouraging words or actions? Pray to God for each person that comes to mind and then reach out in love as He directs you.

For further Study Read: 1 Corinthians 16:18 &1 Timothy 1:3-7, 2:1-7 and then Watch the video below to remember the one who was “raised up” so that you will be too!

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