Have You Missed Unique Opportunities Because they were Disguised as Challenges?

When we are faced with a crisis or struggle, it is tempting to despair. Despair often makes us feel immobilized.
But it’s in this struggle that the best opportunities emerge, if we are looking for them. 

A crisis is an opportunity to change, grow, learn, reflect, and become better. It’s where we discover who we are and how to find opportunities that were unimaginable before the crisis.

When I experienced divorce, I had to venture to find myself and learn to reinvent. It led me to an opportunity that allowed me to eventually have my own business.

When I failed at communication in my relationships, I learned to improve and grow better.

When I ended up closing the business I had purchased, it led me to start one in light of the current season in life where I can coach, mentor and provide insight in things I’ve learned.

When my children have experienced difficulties and I am powerless to change anything, it has helped me develop more patience, learn the power of raw emotions and what can happen when you alter your perspective.

When my husband and I have arguments it is an opportunity to learn more about each other and grow closer and become better at finding common ground. I’ve learned that conflict, once resolved, brings intimacy.

When my daughters grew up and left to meet their appointments in life, I learned to grieve the loss of a simpler life when they were with me and to be vigilant to watch them soar as I cheer them on from where I stand. I am so proud of all they do because I have a big piece of my heart invested.... their wins feel like my wins too! And their challenges often feel like bigger challenges than my own, because there is little I can do to make things better... like I could when they were little girls and experienced a bump or bruise or a careless word spoken in haste. I felt more assured and confident to help them recognize good things then, in spite of only struggles. It seemed much easier when a kiss or hug, ice cream or a lollipop could quickly help them to get up, dust themselves off and get right back into whatever they were doing.

There is more opportunity for reflection, growth and sustainable change during adversity than any other time.  We can focus on finding the “more” of life. It is the place where we can find renewed hope when all else seems bleak.  It is here that we often renew our faith in God who uses challenges to lead us to greater purpose in life.

We have the opportunity to find the good in the struggle, if we choose to look. I have learned that we will pretty much find whatever we expect to find.  If we look for the good, it is evident in places we may never have considered.  If we look for the bad things, they seem to multiply and be enlarged in every direction we seek.

Life is about perception. What do you perceive to be the good that can come from your present set of circumstances?  If you feel you’ve hit bottom, there is only one place to look ~ up!

Be careful not to step on the orchids while searching for the roses. Rare are the opportunities that come tagged with a guarantee for success.

Life as you know it may change. Who said it would be easy? But who’s to say it won’t be good, even better. Let go of all that isn’t working for you and step up to opportunity that may be the thing you would’ve never imagined. When we relinquish what isn't working and what we can't control, we open ourselves up for unlimited options. 

So when life as I knew it changed and I felt paralyzed, I purposed that each day I will get up, show up and do the best I can with what lies before me.  

I never knew how well life could work until I decided to do the next basic “right” thing and allow the opportunities each day to be treated as something of value as opposed to something I would dread.

The irony is that I have learned that when I work to overcome that which cripples me with fear, the unknown, I find things really do happen for a reason!

I have a friend who has recently suffered a number of serious challenges with the loss of two family members, a serious health crisis of another family member and just exhaustion and weariness from it all. Yet, her light shines brightly and it inspires me to keep on keeping on despite some challenges I've faced in the last few months. 

What a joy it can be to allow God to use what weighs us down to be something that helps another to soar. 

When it comes to adding joy in our relationships, often when we can share our burdens and are assured again of those who are there for us, it reorders our priorities and we can again celebrate the gifts we have in those we love that we may lose sight of on occasion. 

As we head into the upcoming holiday season of thankfulness, spend sometime reflecting and journaling about the real opportunities you have that may have felt like challenges at one time. Be sure to share your thankfulness with those who sprinkle the joy and their sparkle just when you need it most.

And then go out and leave your own kinds of sparkle.... your light, just like my friend's, may be just one someone else needs to find the next step they need to take. 

Blessings and peace!

Until next time.....

-Sheri xoxo

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Sheri Geyer is a Boundaries Coach for Women

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

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

Sign Up for My Free Weekly Mastermind Group beginning June 18, 2024 on Tuesdays at 12 noon EDT, https://joyfilledrelationships.com/page/mastermind

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 



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 Boundaries Coach for Women

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

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

Sign Up for My Free Weekly Mastermind Group beginning June 18, 2024 on Tuesdays at 12 noon EDT, https://joyfilledrelationships.com/page/mastermind

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 



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 Boundaries Coach for Women

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

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

Sign Up for My Free Weekly Mastermind Group beginning June 18, 2024 on Tuesdays at 12 noon EDT, https://joyfilledrelationships.com/page/mastermind

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