Has it Ever Seemed that Contentment is Like an Elusive Butterfly?

Has it just seemed that when you have contentment in your sights that it just zips away, never to actually be realized? 

It may seem like you are playing a game with contentment. Sort of like basketball. You think I'll go left and I go right. You go right and I'll lean left and the opportunity for you to get the ball seems like an illusion.

Contentment is the fundamental pursuit in each area of life. We want to get the house painted or our certification completed or the kids grown or something that we are convinced will enable us to finally be content. We may constantly hold a belief when we get to this place or that situation happens or this is complete, we will find contentment waiting like a supportive friend. 

The problem with that thinking is that is always future-focused. And that makes it elusive. Because the future will always be... the future, and not the present.

So, how do we find and enjoy contentment here and now, where we live?

It is really a condition of our inner person. Sort of an at-peace-with-me feeling. It is also a foundation to enjoying life and being intentional in the moment. Can it be done? If so, how?
 
Practice delaying gratification. Yes, you can do it! When you consider making a purchase, use patience and consider postponing the ones that are simply for convenience. If you end up purchasing the item later, it will be well thought out. If not, you’ll be happier to have saved the time and money. To the one whom much is given, much is required.

Make a focused effort to remain inspired and to be inspiring. Spend some time each day reading something from the Bible, an inspirational author, or other areas of interest. Spend some time several times each week journaling about experiences you have or about things you've gleaned from what you read, personal encounters you've had, a movie you've watched or perhaps something that came to mind while you were in the shower. You will be amazed at how you can gain such positive perspective from your quiet times. Invest in others by offering an encouraging word in the way of a note, text or call to them when they are working on a particular event or endeavor or are facing a personal trial. Research has shown that our happiness is much more about how we treat others, than even how we are treated by others. Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive. 

Unplug from the technology of life and plug in to the simpler paths. Change gears for half an hour each day by taking a walk or a bubble bath. Find a neat little hobby such as painting or woodworking or gardening that you can enjoy and de-stress from the working hours in your day. Write a blog — oh, I resemble that! — on something that you have learned in an effort to enlighten others and to reflect back on in the future. Create some new plans or adventures trying some things you may have never done. You may find a new and better lifestyle that fits who you are in the current season of life that you are in.

Get a mentor – be a mentor. Spend time with people you admire and learn about their lives and interests. They can be living instructional aids to learning how to do things in a different, possibly, more efficient way. Find ways that you can share things with those who can gain a lot by your experiences or teach a class that will be beneficial to others who may not have had all of your experiences . Show appreciation for what you learn and for the opportunity to share. I especially enjoy spending time with young children and mature adults. The wealth of information and the creativity amuse and inspire me.

Reach out and get to know a neighbor at home or work. Don’t worry, if you’re the new-bee you can still take the initiative. Every friend we have was once a stranger. Be observant in watching for common interests. Maybe you both have kids the same age, have dogs to walk, or at work, someone who goes to lunch at the same time as you. When we consider what the feeling of 'home' is like, it has as much to do with the community where we live as the actual home we live in. It's wonderful to have the neighbors and friends that check in with you if they notice things that are out of your normal routine of coming and going. Host a night of dinner and games or even a neighborhood clean-up. It will radically increase your feelings of connectedness and the contentment of knowing you can make a difference right where you are.

Practice learning to be a great listener. By doing so, you will learn the true art of emotional intelligence and the high quality of “likeability”. When you work to listen to others at deeper levels, you communicate to them that you place high value on them and the time they spend with you. You will also learn how to take the focus off of your own issues and personal challenges and be an encourager to others. This goes a long way in developing strong friendships. And, when you build relational capital by listening, you may very well find that you have a great friend and listening ear in place when you are in need of sharing your heart.

Practice these steps on a regular basis for 30 days and judge for yourself if you don’t have a life that can be defined as being more content. And the good news is that if you are around people who are discontent, you may be the one to influence them to a more positive stance.

The one you encourage today, may be YOU!

Until next time....

-Sheri xo 

Hey! I'm excited to invite you to a new and free online community for Christian Women. It's a safe place to connect, share, encourage and be encouraged and deepen your relationship with God and others. And, unlike social media platforms, there are not ads, data collecting or other distractions. I'm providing a link for you to join! I hope to see you https://joy-filled-relationships.mn.co/share/S_dOjQT7-iqLg9B1?utm_source=manual

Sheri Geyer is a Relationship Coach for Christian Women*

*And women seeking to learn more about a relationship with Jesus Christ! 

Are YOU Ready to Transform Negative Patterns into Healthy Boundaries and create Joy-Filled ❤️Relationships? If so, we need to talk!

I'd love for you to join my online community for Christian Women on Mighty Networks! It's free, it's a safe place where you can connect, share, be encouraged and learn to grow a deeper faith walk with the Lord! Here's the link; I hope to see you on the inside: https://joy-filled-relationships.mn.co/share/S_dOjQT7-iqLg9B1?utm_source=manual 

I'd like to invite you to Join me on a 5-day Journey to do a deeper dive into discovering how you can find and maintain more joy-filled relationships... Sign up for Free here: https://joyfilledrelationships.com/landing/five-days

My  Online Group Coaching Program has begun -- https://joyfilledrelationships.com/application. Consider signing up now (during the developmental stage) to receive huge discounts and Lifetime Access for as long as the program is offered! You'll never get a better opportunity or price!

Do You Get Hung Up On What Others 'May' Be Thinking of You?

There are certain laws in place that don’t change such as gravity. There are others that are fairly predictable such as reaping & sowing, and regardless of how you drop a slice of bread, it always lands butter-side-down!

Another seemingly predictable law that is set in motion is judgment. We as humans are always judging. We judge ourselves harshly based on how we 'feel' on the inside and compare that image of ourself to the 'outside' of another who we view when they have their best-foot-forward. 

We measure others up one side and down the other. 

How nice it would be to become more like my dog who is completely non-judgmental and loves me unconditionally as a result. Remind you of anyone??

It is amazing how often we have done something or have opted not to do something based on what we “think” others would say or think about our choice. This prevents us from being free to live authentically. 

How can we best choose where we believe God may be leading if we first have to check in with the judgment panel?

Now, I’m not saying we don’t need accountability and support in our lives. These are extremely important. 

People who know us well enough to be a source of support and accountability for us do so based on a certain level of permission we have given them to speak into our lives. They have listened to our hearts and shared in our joys and sorrows. 

They are in place because they have earned what I like to call “relational” capital and we seek the investment they make in our lives. We are better because of the check and balance system these folks share with us.

The point I am making is that there are some who really do not have our best interest at heart. They are self-appointed judges to determine and verbalize to us what we need to be doing or not doing or perhaps, doing differently. 

A good indicator of relationships with these people is that we basically feel like we have to be defensive to protect our treasures, i.e. our thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams around them because they “feel” they have the right to have a “say” in the choices we make.

Whether or not we have given permission for certain people to speak into our lives, we are training them that this is acceptable behavior unless we are pro-active. 

It may be necessary to communicate that we are able to make our choices and ask for help when needed, or we may find ourselves paralyzed to move forward based on what we “think” they may “think” we should or should not do.

This limits our ability to live freely and often to achieve greater things in life. 

I believe those we have invited to speak truth into our lives sometimes may need to tell us what we need to hear. This can greatly benefit us because the view they see may be more accurate than the one we 'see' or 'think' we see. 

If those who are commited to our welfare will be refreshingly honest with us we can grow. 

However, if we have significant people in our lives routinely tell us what we want to hear, they really do more harm than good. 

If someone cares and respects us,  they will set their pre-judgments aside and truly listen with an intent to help us discern what would be best for us in the way of creating a life we desire. 

When we are making choices that align with our overall direction in life, they can cheerlead and urge us on. 

When we are considering a choice that is not in alignment, they have the courage and permission to remind us of our hopes and desires and question us on where we are in the journey.

The key difference is that someone who believes in us and respects our choices and our right to make them, will ASK questions as opposed to TELL us what they think. 

The “telling” part and the asking of “Why” often makes it seem we are backed in a corner. The result is that we may become defensive and make bad choices to “prove” that we can do whatever we want. Nobody wins in this cycle.

I believe God has ignited a candle of passion within each of us to pro-actively seek the purpose(s) He has for us. 

We will experience the greatest peace and contentment when we are actively pursuing the path that lets us live out the purposes that we are passionate about. 

It is also a journey of continual learning and growth. We are all designed for greatness in the things that matter most in our lives. 

We can best achieve this by aligning our will with God’s, having wise counsel and finding our gifting and passion by working and living within these areas. 

The best analogy I can have for going against our passion and trying to do life or work a job for some other reason, such as money, prestige etc. is that of certain hair types. (I was in the hair industry for many years!) 

Often people with curly hair spend countless hours and dollars trying to straighten and smooth down their hair. While folks with fine, straight hair are trying to color, perm and add volume to their hair, also at a great cost of time, money and frustration. 

I often recommended that they work “with” what they have and not "against" it.

In order to get over believing that what other people think about us is so important, it is wise to remember that their opinions of us are really none of our business. 

What difference do their opinions make? That all depends on whether we choose to allow it to make a difference or not. The freedom to choose is ours. The power to choose can be ours or we can pass that off if we listen too long to the voices of what others “think”.

I am reminded of a quote that I love from our pastor at our former church in the Atlanta area. He would say to be properly aligned with truth, we need to realize that we often struggle with: "I am who I THINK you THINK I am".

Since that's a tongue-twister at best, here are my thoughts..... If I am overly concerned (and over-thinking) what I believe you think of me, I begin to believe (and likely emulate) whatever it is I think you are thinking of me. 

However, IF I were to choose to let the "YOU" in that quote be God alone, my whole understanding can change.

I know certain truths about God... He loves me unconditionally. He says I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. He tells me He knew me before He formed me in my mother's womb. He gave His Son to take my place so I could choose Him and spend eternity in His presence. 

So, if I CHOOSE to take God at His Word, this can change everything about the way I 'see' me and I can joyfully align with "I am WHO I THINK God THINKS I am!" Wow, how refreshing is that?!?!?

What is the big fear of what others may judge us to be or not be? More than likely it is a fear of failure or a fear of rejection. 

But in reality, what’s the big deal if something doesn’t work the way we had hoped or the outcome doesn't look the way we envisioned? And what if, everyone doesn't love us like Jesus?

We can choose to simply try again, the next time we will have more experience. We never truly “fail” unless we quit trying to find a way to get to an outcome that we can be satisfied with.

And we can choose to accept that we are not going to connect on a deep level with some people. And that is okay. 

I believe if we have 3-5 really close friends that we connect with on a routine basis, we are among the richest people in the world.... rich in what truly matters!

The best way to face the fear of what others think and get through to living the life we choose is simply to visualize the worst case scenario and ask ourselves what would we do if this or that happens? 

We can play it out in our mind (or on paper) and often begin to see things that may not have been as clear when our idea was merely a dream.

My grandmother always said, “when people (the ones who judge) are talking about ‘you’ (or me) they are leaving someone else alone”. 

Meaning that the one thing that is certain is that as sure as people will always be talking, they will always be judging. This is something we have no power to change.

But we do have the power to choose. 

Do you want to live in the freedom you have to create a life you love, are passionate about and do not need to escape from? 

Or are you satisfied to let other people decide what you can or cannot accomplish?

The choice, either way, is up to you!

Until next time....

-Sheri xo

Sheri Geyer is a Relationship Coach for Christian Women*

*And women seeking to learn more about a relationship with Jesus Christ! 

Are YOU Ready to Transform Negative Patterns into Healthy Boundaries and create Joy-Filled ❤️Relationships? If so, we need to talk!

I'd love for you to join my online community for Christian Women on Mighty Networks! It's free, it's a safe place where you can connect, share, be encouraged and learn to grow a deeper faith walk with the Lord! Here's the link; I hope to see you on the inside: https://joy-filled-relationships.mn.co/share/S_dOjQT7-iqLg9B1?utm_source=manual 

I'd like to invite you to Join me on a 5-day Journey to do a deeper dive into discovering how you can find and maintain more joy-filled relationships... Sign up for Free here: https://joyfilledrelationships.com/landing/five-days

My  Online Group Coaching Program has begun -- https://joyfilledrelationships.com/application. Consider signing up now (during the developmental stage) to receive huge discounts and Lifetime Access for as long as the program is offered! You'll never get a better opportunity or price!

Are YOU Ready to Grow Your Faith to Bigger Than Your Fear?

Growing a Faith Bigger than Your Fear

Many times, we find ourselves in a season of worry. We may be tempted to worry over health, finances, family, relationships, career, safety, or various other challenges that we may or may not have to face in life.

Jesus understood that seasons of worry are inevitable in our lives. Because of His humanity, he was empathetic and reminded us in Scripture not to worry about our lives, in regard to what we will eat, drink or the clothes we will wear. He compared the beautiful lilies and how God has decorated each one for the season they are to grow and thrive. His words of encouragement challenge us to seek God first and then He will provide the things we need.

One reason for worry comes from an inability or unwillingness to focus on the place we currently are in life... the present moment. Being in the moment provides an opportunity for learning to enjoy the blessings God provides each day. The challenge is that it requires us to be intentional. We can best remedy this by not obsessing over yesterday and the things that we are powerless to change, or fretting over tomorrow since it isn’t here yet. These habits stir up negative emotions that create a mindset for fear.

An interesting way to look at this is considering the vehicle you drive. It is equipped with a windshield and typically, a rearview mirror. Mentally assess the difference in the size of these two components. The windshield is likely 30+ times the size of the rearview mirror. And, when we are driving, we spend (hopefully), 99.99% of our time looking through the windshield to see where we are heading. 

Occasionally, when changing lanes or making a turn, we may glance, momentarily, in our rearview mirror to ensure we can make our move safely. 

If you are a Mom, you may spend a little more time looking back at your littles to ensure they are sleeping or simply to offer them comfort.

What would happen if we reversed this scenario? 

How successful would we be driving a vehicle if we spend the lion's share of our time looking in the rearview to see where we have been, what is going on behind us or pondering what is in the past? As you know, it would be quite disasterous! 

In fact, so much so, we might experience an official escort in our near future. LOL!!

It is the same way in all of life. We have zero ability to alter anything that has happened in our past. Yet, being focused on our faith walk and allowing it to lead us to a deeper intimacy with Christ provides us a bright opportunity to impact our future. 

A closely aligned relationship with God, where we are walking by faith and not by what we see, or especially not being driven by what we feel, helps us to live more peacefully and more confident that the God who walks with us today is the One who gently guides us safely into our future with the ability to trust that He will work it all together for our good!

Our faith increases by hearing and responding in obedience to God and to His Word!

We live in a culture that provides us many voices and so much information telling us how we can best do life. We must be diligent to quieten our hearts to hear and listen to the still, small voice that leads us safely, peacefully and calmly through the highs and lows, the ups and downs and the changes that life brings. 

He is the Anchor that holds when everything else feels like shifting sand.

Another cause for fear is that instead of trusting that God has a plan for our lives, we fix our minds on all the things that “could” go wrong. This zaps our energy for dealing with the the normal ebb and flow of life and robs us of of the ability to simply take God at His Word and lean on His promises.

Daily, we are confronted with plenty of concerns that require us to be on top of our game. We desire to make decisions in the present that we will be happy with down the road. We don’t need to add regrets from yesterday, or the things we may fear about the future.

Divide the things you face into two cateogories: those you can control and those you cannot. Resolve never to waste time and energy on the latter and not to make excuses for the challenges you face on the former.

If you will decide today to take the one step (or do the one thing) that God is telling you to do -- and simply trust Him with the outcome -- He will reveal the remaining 9 or 99 or 999 steps that you need to make to fulfill what He calls you to do with your life. 

Equipping us for the journey is what He does well, and, if we get hung up on needing to know all 99 steps before we will even take one, we never get anywhere beyond "stuck". Taking that one step today, and trusting him with the other 99 is exactly what it means to live by FAITH!!

Recognize that there is a very real battle going on within each of us to either live by faith or by fear. If we truly desire our lives to change, we will be required to choose to overcome our fears and grow our faith.

If we want to do life by design, we have the opportunity to follow God wholeheartedly in full assurance that everything He does, He does well! 

The polar opposite to living life by design is neglecting to live proactively, which results in our 'choosing' (because not choosing is making a choice) to simply default to doing life by default. There is no calm or joy or pleasure in this path.

Imagine for a moment the ones you love and cherish... you are fully aware of all of the blessings and favor that you desire for them to experience in their lives. You certainly wouldn't want them to be limited in their ability to trust that you are always about what is best for them. You would never sit around and allow them to limp through life stuck in fear and worry that there is no hope for them in the future or that things they may have been involved in or experienced in the past are acceptable to hold them captive.

God is holding that same space for each of us. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that He wants for us that is anything less than His very best. We are wise to leave the choices to Him in determining what our best life can be. 

It does require waiting on Him... yep, that dreaded four-letter word....W-A-I-T! 

We really are more 'comfortable' knowing all of the pieces of the journey, but it really isn't necessary. We can experience joy even when we don't know the whole path. Waiting in the uncertainty is where we have the greatest opportunity to grow. 

Waiting isn't doing nothing. It isn't sitting around like a bump on a log, twidding our thumbs and thinking of the old song from 'Hee Haw' .... "Doom despair, agony on me...Deep, Dark Depression, Excessive misery....". (dating myself right here LOL!)

Not at all! It is entering into a season of resting in Him and focusing on the One who has brought us where we are in life. It is spending time in the Bible, especially in Psalms and reading about the laments and the help and the blessing that God has for each of us, in His time.

It is allowing Him to bring us through His refining fire to become all we are meant to be. 

Sometimes, it's relinquishing the things that prevent us from being the person we know we are in our heart. It's a breaking of unhealthy patterns and negative beliefs. 

Sometimes it's a breakthrough that comes from the breakdown.

All of the time, it is the security of His promise that He has a plan for our lives. It is also a knowing that He is good. And His ways are good. 

And, ultimately, it's an embracing of all that can be!

At the end of the day, it comes down to the question we need to ask ... 

What will I choose today? Will it be to Feed My Fear or Grow My Faith?

All of heaven stands ready to assist you if you choose to take God at His Word (Look through the Windshield) and leave fear where it belongs (In the Rear View)!

Until next time....

-Sheri xo

Sheri Geyer is a Relationship Coach for Christian Women*

*And women seeking to learn more about a relationship with Jesus Christ! 

Are YOU Ready to Transform Negative Patterns into Healthy Boundaries and create Joy-Filled ❤️Relationships? If so, we need to talk!

I'd love for you to join my online community for Christian Women on Mighty Networks! It's free, it's a safe place where you can connect, share, be encouraged and learn to grow a deeper faith walk with the Lord! Here's the link; I hope to see you on the inside: https://joy-filled-relationships.mn.co/share/S_dOjQT7-iqLg9B1?utm_source=manual 

I'd like to invite you to Join me on a 5-day Journey to do a deeper dive into discovering how you can find and maintain more joy-filled relationships... Sign up for Free here: https://joyfilledrelationships.com/landing/five-days

My  Online Group Coaching Program has begun -- https://joyfilledrelationships.com/application. Consider signing up now (during the developmental stage) to receive huge discounts and Lifetime Access for as long as the program is offered! You'll never get a better opportunity or price!

Do You Believe God is Fair?

It may appear that fairness has become one of the gold-standards of American culture. Everyone is equal. For anyone to receive any kind of preference is perceived to be discriminating against them and has the potential to bring a lawsuit. In many ways, this can be perceived as good and entirely appropriate for any free society.

While it may appear so, fairness does not mean that every person gets the same thing. The true meaning of fairness is that 'we get what we deserve'

When we think of what it means to be fair, we can compare it to two separate mindsets: 

*A person holding a negative view of themselves or the world, may believe there is no escape for them to think, feel or believe any other way, except that they are not 'good'. 

*Another person who may typically see the more positive side of things, may have the expectation that since they’ve never been arrested they are truly good in the eyes of God.

Love isn't necessarily fair. Love prefers the beloved one over and above all others. I may believe that my kids are cuter than your kids, and you probably disagree because you believe your kids are cuter than mine. Love does this to and for us. It’s not fair, but it’s good.

God is love. But is God, fair? 

He is perfect. He is right. He is good. He is just. 

But, God is NOT fair! Okay, now I've lost about two-thirds of you, who are likely thinking, 'Wait! Is she honestly saying that God. Is. Not. Fair?? 

Yes, I am saying that... bear with me a moment.... think about it this way: If we could be perfect as Jesus Christ is, we would be able to stand in God's sight. It is our sin that separates us from God, not who we are, who our parents are, where we work or how much money we make, the size of our house, yada yada yada. 

Because we live in a fallen world, where prior to the fall, God looked on all that He had made and He said, "Behold, it is very good!" 

Enter, our humanness through Adam and Eve. They get an up close glimpse of a very appealing shiny piece of fruit and made the choice to do life on their terms and follow a worthless pursuit of trying to be as "God is" based on a lie from a snake! Yuck!! Who listens to a snake?? (Hmmm, I am pretty sure, I would have elected to chase the stupid shiny object as well?... I mean 'pleasing to the eye' does sound pretty fabulous, right??)

So, God says, "Great, now look what you've done. What am I going to do with You??" (Okay, this is The Sheri Paraphrase... LOL). So, he decides on a plan for our redemption and spends 2000 years perfecting it. Boy, we do have our issues.... just saying.

So God is not fair, because if He were, Jesus would never have come to earth, gone through all that He faced, cried out in a Garden that God might free Him from the step He knew He was going to need to take. He would not have had to face betrayal by someone who had walked with Him as a Friend. He would not have spent hours in torture and interrogation, only to be mocked, spit upon, ridiculed, and persecuted beyond recognition. And then, for six hours one Friday, hang on a cross made from a tree He created. He did it all for me... yep, for my sins. 

While He was on the cross, He was thinking of me. He was thinking of you, too!

He did it...Just for me... and for You too:

For me to be free to have a rotten attitude when things don't go my way; 
For me to be free to call His name out loud when life hurts; 
For me to shake my fist at Him for all I've been through and how unfair it all is;

And, for three days from now on Easter Sunday, for me to walk beside you and proclaim: 
"Hallelujah, He is Risen!!" So you could reply in turn, "He is Risen, Indeed!!" 

Oh, what a Savior.... Thank You, Jesus!!

Okay, back to my story... 

But God is just. His judgments are right and good and true. 

A God whose primary description is “fair” would be devoid of grace or mercy or compassion. Instead, the guilty would immediately receive the punishment for their sin. This equates to what is commonly known as 'karma', where you receive what you’ve earned. Every action is weighed on a scale, and you work your hardest to have the good outweigh the bad.

Those who desire a fair God also have a very low view of sin’s seriousness. Sure, God may not like sin, but surely I won't be condemned by my sin unless it’s really serious, right?

But that’s just not what the Bible teaches about sin. Read the Sermon on the Mount and see how serious Jesus treats sin.

Even if God was fair and He would actually weigh the scales, and even if your scales had more good than bad… what would a fair God do with sin? We would certainly, at least I would be, found wanting!

A good judge makes right judgments. He does not condemn the innocent. Nor does he free the guilty.

God is just (because He does not overlook sin), but He is not fair. 

It simply is not fair that Jesus Christ suffered on Calvary's Cross in my place and for my sin!

It is not fair that He endured the rejection and wrath that should have been mine. 

It is not fair that I received the Grace of God, while He received the most bitterest of cups, for me. In my place. 

God is not fair, He transferred the guilt of all humanity on the innocent shoulders of Jesus. But He is just, because the punishment was given out and paid for. 

If God was fair, we would all receive what we’ve earned… death.

“The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may freely eat; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for on the day that you eat from it you will certainly die.” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2‬:‭16‬-‭17‬

“Indeed, there is not a righteous person on earth who always does good and does not ever sin.” Ecclesiastes‬ ‭7‬:‭20‬ 

“They have all turned aside; together they are corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Psalm 14:3

“For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23

“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” James 2:10

I just have to say here.... If God sees all of this about us and He still makes a way of redemption for us... who are we to look on another and, blame, judge or condemn them? They will KNOW we are His (Followers of Jesus aka Christians) by our LOVE! 

Okay, I'm getting back to my story.... Imagine a fair God, who gave to everyone what they deserved. We’d all receive the judgment we deserve! We’d all be condemned to hell.

Thanks be to God for His love and grace and mercy, which turned His justice against Himself, Jesus Christ being fully God and fully man, so that sinners could be reconciled with God. 

Hallelujah, what a gift!!!!! Receive it...even though you or I can't earn it... We can receive it!! 

“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” 
Luke 23:34

“… God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their wrongdoings against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:19

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 

The message of the gospel is this: We are saved by faith alone in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We plead for God’s grace, not for fairness. 

Salvation comes through the work of Christ. It is a gift, not a paycheck. It is unfair, because it’s pure grace.

Let us give praise and thanks to God that He is not fair!

Sheri Geyer is a Relationship Coach for Christian Women*

*And women seeking to learn more about a relationship with Jesus Christ! 

Are YOU Ready to Transform Negative Patterns into Healthy Boundaries and create Joy-Filled ❤️Relationships? If so, we need to talk!

I'd love for you to join my online community for Christian Women on Mighty Networks! It's free, it's a safe place where you can connect, share, be encouraged and learn to grow a deeper faith walk with the Lord! Here's the link; I hope to see you on the inside: https://joy-filled-relationships.mn.co/share/S_dOjQT7-iqLg9B1?utm_source=manual 

I'd like to invite you to Join me on a 5-day Journey to do a deeper dive into discovering how you can find and maintain more joy-filled relationships... Sign up for Free here: https://joyfilledrelationships.com/landing/five-days

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Have You Ever Felt that You are a Magnet for Difficult People?

For most situations in my life, I would be willing to say that I don't blame other people for things that happen to me. I've managed to survive divorce without making it all someone else's fault.  I've managed to grow up without feeling I'm entitled because of something my parents did or did not do in line with my expectations.

I have been willing to go the extra mile in work or projects where I truly wanted to succeed, without expecting anyone else to tow the line for me. I have basically tried to take ownership of my life.

However, I have continually been challenged in my thinking regarding 'difficult' people in my world, due to a longstanding false belief that their impact on my life has more to do with their issues than with mine.

Since I coach and facilitate groups around creating healthier relationships and healthy boundaries, I have finally come to realize that difficult people are the sandpaper God allows into my life to smooth out my rough edges.

If I am looking at the actions or behavior of others and making excuses for the way I react to them, I am not "getting it". I have not been afforded the opportunity to order every piece of my environment so that it is perfected for my convenience. There are places inside my soul that need to be healed from expectations I've had that the world revolves around me and my comfort. Tough lesson. Much needed. 

My grandmother often said "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me". Meaning that after I've observed the attitudes and reactions of a difficult, angry, controlling, irresponsible or otherwise annoying personality, and I continue to allow it to go on in my life unaddressed, this is something I am responsible for.  If you are standing on my toe and I'm too "scared, embarrassed, fearful" to find my voice and tell you, is this really your problem?

I am learning that the voice that speaks for me is and should be ONLY my own.  If I expect you to protect my feelings, talents, emotions, ideas etc. and I do nothing to communicate my hurt feelings when you trample them, how is this something that you can be held responsible for? If you ask for truth and I gloss it over with the "oh no, I'm fine", how are you supposed to know? If I am intent on faking 'fine', I am choosing to 'accept' the behavior and actions of someone with whom I may need to find the courage to have that difficult conversation I have been avoiding.

Often, I have witnessed people, years after a relational breakdown continue to speak about how the person did such and such to them.  They recount and relive every detail as though they are still living it.  All the while, holding the other party fully responsible. Never coming to the realization that if it was a continual process, they were partly responsible for enabling it to continue as long as they did. How tragic, because this behavior impacts future relationships and hinders forgiveness and the ability to move on from the wounds. 

While some recognize the truth in "we have seen the enemy and it is us", many do not realize that enabling a relationship to continue without addressing issues that have hurt and wounded us is very self-destructive. 

Somehow they manage to relieve the guilt by blaming the other person for being so difficult, controlling, angry, threatening yada yada yada.  When in reality, all along, confrontation was necessary. 

We excuse our challenges by saying that we dislike confrontations.  With tongue in cheek here, I ask, which do you dislike more, confrontations or having someone trample all over the things you value and feeling powerless to do anything about it? If we are not pro-active to protect our peace and calm, who else will be?

The 'blame' game, which is me believing that my reactions are somehow someone else's fault or responsibility, only keeps the cycle of chaos going. The relationship doesn't heal and neither can I. Taking responsibility and ownership of what we choose and what we allow into our lives, goes much farther in getting us out of destructive cycles. 

God gave us free will and the ability and strength to manage our lives. We must own up to the responsibility of saying, "if it's to be, it's up to me" when it comes to using our voice to establish safe limits on what we will allow into our lives and what we will eliminate from our lives.  No one can do this for us. 

We alone know the impact someone else's words or actions have on us and we have the right and responsibility to calmly make them aware of our feelings around their actions. This provides the greatest opportunity for the relationship to move through the painful or awkward phase and into a breakthrough where it can be restored, often to a closer, more intimate bond. Breakdowns and places where we are most resistant are often the places where we will have the greatest breakthroughs.

Even if we are unable, at this point, to get the relationship back on track, we can be free of the control we allow it to have over our lives when we choose to forgive. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves. The other person may not even be aware of our choice. I've often heard it said that choosing not to forgive someone, which isn't saying that what they did was okay, is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It’s never going to happen. 

What I do know from my own experience when going through the divorce of a 19-year marriage is that not forgiving someone basically gives them free rent inside my head.

If you don't want to continue to get what you have always received, you must change the methods in which you respond to and handle the same issues.

We cannot change or control another person. I can't say to you, "you will not speak to me this way" and really expect that you will simply season your words with kindness.  A better approach is to say, "if you choose to act in this manner, I will not be present. I refuse to allow myself to be treated this way".

This seems somewhat scary depending on the significance of the relationship in our lives. However, what kind of relationship is it anyway, if we are merely showing up to be treated poorly?  Distancing ourselves from someone's outbursts requires them to reflect on the relationship and take responsibility for their actions, if the relationship is important to them.  What if they walk away, you may ask? Well, the sooner you know the better, right?

It is okay to set limits on the way you are treated, how much time you will spend helping another person, and in the commitments you make. The important thing is that we give and serve from a cheerful heart.  If we do it for any other purpose rather than out of love, we will feel obligated and resentful.

We may be thinking we are actually helping someone, but that simply isn't true if we have expectations or strings attached to the time or gifts we give. Giving from a cheerful heart requires that we do our kind deeds from a heart of love and not out of fear of the other person's reactions.

Freedom to be who we are, requires finding our voice to speak for what we can or can't do, will or won't do, what we need, or how and when we desire to give our time or resources to help another person . 

It is much better to spend time with someone who wants to help than with someone who is edgy and resentful because they really do not want to do what they have signed on for. Offer your support out of a sincere desire to serve. Say no when you cannot give without stress or resentment. Enjoy the difference!

Also remember, if you decline an opportunity and find later than you can get on board, it is much easier to turn your "no" into a "yes" than the reverse. You will truly experience better and safer relationships. People don't remember what we say or do ~ they remember the way we make them feel.

Find where you can serve joyously and go spread the joy!

PS. If you have enjoyed this post, please share with other fabulous women who are ready to do Life-by-God’s-Design!

Sheri Geyer is a Relationship Coach for Christian Women*

*And women seeking to learn more about a relationship with Jesus Christ! 

Are YOU Ready to Transform Negative Patterns into Healthy Boundaries and create Joy-Filled ❤️Relationships? If so, we need to talk!

I'd love for you to join my online community for Christian Women on Mighty Networks! It's free, it's a safe place where you can connect, share, be encouraged and learn to grow a deeper faith walk with the Lord! Here's the link; I hope to see you on the inside: https://joy-filled-relationships.mn.co/share/S_dOjQT7-iqLg9B1?utm_source=manual 

I'd like to invite you to Join me on a 5-day Journey to do a deeper dive into discovering how you can find and maintain more joy-filled relationships... Sign up for Free here: https://joyfilledrelationships.com/landing/five-days

My  Online Group Coaching Program has begun -- https://joyfilledrelationships.com/application. Consider signing up now (during the developmental stage) to receive huge discounts and Lifetime Access for as long as the program is offered! You'll never get a better opportunity or price!