Walking On Eggshells!

Are you tiptoeing around some of the people in your life or perhaps being overly cautious with your health, or your job? Do you ever deal with people with whom you have a close relationship and love dearly, but you always feel like you’re walking on eggshells whenever you are with them?

Maybe they are overly sensitive, or they have a long memory of all they have done for you and high expectations of how much you should be doing for them. How can we let them know of the immeasurable love that we have for them, in spite of our differences? We all have challenging days or weeks when we are simply unable to reach out to everyone and meet their expectations. At times, we are emotionally and physically all over the place and it’s hard to fulfill everyone’s demands.

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The question is: How do we control our emotions? Since God created us in His image, He created us as emotional beings. If we carefully pay attention, we find God’s emotions in His word. We share some of His emotions: love, joy, happiness, etc. Some of our emotions are based on truth and some others are false or misleading. Nevertheless, our emotions reveal what is in our hearts. Whenever my eyes turn away from the Lord, I experience negative emotions like fear, resentment or confusion. These are all based on false beliefs. God is in control of our lives, but He gives us free will to manage our emotions.

Speaking of emotions; for some of us, the strongest food cravings hit when we are at our lowest point emotionally. This is true for me! Sometimes, when I see chaos around me and have no control over my circumstances, I have a tendency to turn to food for comfort. Since I have food allergies, eating the wrong food can sabotage my health. I need to be watchful of what I eat. I have been tiptoeing (walking on eggshells) around my health for the past few years. It is not easy, but when I see young children suffering with food or environmental allergies, it puts my own struggle into perspective. It is heartbreaking to watch them suffer and for some, it can be life-threatening. They truly have to be extra vigilant.

In addition to being watchful of harmful surroundings, how do we deal with those who are difficult, hyper-sensitive or easily angered? Do we ignore their behavior and distance ourselves from them, or do we continue walking on eggshells? We all know of people like this – we can practically hear the eggshells cracking just thinking about them!

Obviously, none of us are perfect. We have all been difficult at one time or another. But we are called to deal with difficult people with humility and gentleness. We all have people in our lives that push our buttons and bring out the worst in us.

I used to be intolerant of those who were negative, stubborn, or overly-sensitive. I had little patience for people who see the glass as half empty (those who always read negativity between the lines of conversation). But I have learned to let go as much possible, by reminding myself how Jesus dealt with the most difficult people during His time on earth. Sometimes He answered the Pharisees’ and religious teachers’ nonsensical questions with raw admonition. But usually He answered their question with a question, and ultimately pointed them to scripture. Here is one example:

(Matthew 15:1-3) Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?”

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law came to scrutinize Jesus’ activities. For hundreds of years religious traditions had been added to God’s laws. Sadly, the Pharisees and teachers of the law considered their traditions equally, if not more important than God’s word. Many traditions are not bad in themselves. Certain religious traditions can add richness and meaning to life. But as Jesus tells us through this verse, we must not assume that because our traditions have been practiced for years, they should be equated with God’s law. The word of God doesn’t need additions. Traditions should help us to understand God’s laws better, not become laws themselves.

In the next verse we see again how He dealt with a similar situation.
(Matthew 9:14-15) Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?”

At other times Jesus was silent, letting quietness allow people to think about their own beliefs, sins, and actions. There is a time to speak and a time to keep silent. At times it’s a struggle to stay quiet. But if you follow God’s leading, you can trust and expect that the Lord will make His will known to you as you are dealing with difficult people.

God’s word can be empowering, enabling us either to speak or stay quiet, possibly engaging in silent prayer while we are having that unreasonable, redundant and seemingly fruitless conversation with someone. I have experienced unpleasant moments, while simultaneously being in awe of how the Lord intervened in situations with certain people.

Recently, I noticed a conversation was heading down a familiar path – a place where no good would emerge, and where everyone was soon going to be upset. Quickly I reached out and put my hand over my Bible which was lying on the kitchen table. I started praying silently as this unpleasant conversation progressed. I prayed, “Lord Jesus, please come at once and intercede. I release everything into Your hand.” All of the sudden, the conversation took a completely different direction, with no one remembering what we had just been talking about! Amazing!!! I was in awe.

Yes, we must all at times walk cautiously with people or circumstances, just as others are at times careful of our overly sensitive behavior. In either case we are not alone. God is always with us. God Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” This verse encourages us to ask for strength in trying times:
(Hebrews 13:5) “ I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

All we need to do is to shift our attention from the person or circumstance to the One who is always ready to help us in moment of need – it doesn’t matter if the issue is small or big, just pray. Prayer is the strongest weapon and can overcome any difficult situation. We affirm our trust in God through silent or spoken prayers and wait expectantly for Him to rescue us.

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Be In The World But Not Of The World!

Where do you get the unyielding strength to say “NO” to the temptations of the world that are constantly misrepresented as harmless? They wear a colorful mask on the surface, luring you in, but in truth are a dangerous snare. How do you get the steadfast power to fulfill your calling? How do you determine to live in a world that is shattered into so many pieces, and yet stand firmly planted on the side of righteousness?

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We all struggle to understand if the life that we live is aligned with the will of God. As for me, once I knew that I was a child of God, loved and valued by Him, I was unstoppable. I was eager to know what my next step forward would be, now that I was wanting to live the life that God had planned for me, rather than listening to what the world wanted me to do. As I continued reading and studying His word, my faith grew stronger every day. I learned many lessons but was still thinking that I wasn’t ready to share what I had learned about the truth of God with others. Then the Lord graciously reminded me how He delivered me by revealing His light at night through dreams and visions, and during the day time through intellectual leaders, women’s study groups, my small group, and my prayer group. I prayed without ceasing for courage and strength to share His love with others. I no longer wanted to keep His love only for myself, selfishly storing His blessings wrapped up in a fancy box and placed on a high shelf. I didn’t need to hide His name any longer when speaking or writing. But still there was a part of me that didn’t know how to offer this precious gift to the world. I needed His strength and power. The Lord’s faithfulness and His timing always amazes me. God heard my prayers and read my thoughts. He told me during my daily devotion time, “True confidence comes from knowing Me. Your continual dependence on Me opens up the path before you. Keep your eyes fixed on Me – your Savior.”

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior: my God will hear me.” (Micah 7:7)

I could hear the Lord’s message everywhere I went during this time – listening to church services, whenever I opened my Bible, and even when I had a conversation with someone. God was whispering in my heart, “It is time to go and let the world know what you have witnessed. I will be your strength and song of deliverance. I will always be with you and watch over you, as you go out and as you come in, I will meet all your needs according to My promises. Go and live life to the fullest – the life that I prepared for you in the real world. You can’t isolate yourself from the world. You heard My word, now go and deliver it. That is My purpose for your life.” God’s word has instructions on how to relate to the world: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by renewing your mind…..” (Romans 12:2).

Then I came across this famous phrase: “Be in the world but not of the world.” This phrase relates to the verse above and may be difficult to fully grasp. Hmmm, what does it mean to be in the world but not of the world? It is not an invitation. Rather, it is a simple recognition of our fallen world. It says, “Enjoy living in the world but don’t get caught up in what the world values.” So what are those worldly values and how can we be certain which ones are the right ones for us? I was gently reminded of how easily I can be enticed to follow the pattern of this world in an incident that occurred recently.

If you are a woman and reading this, you will understand what I’m about tell you. I had been seeing false eyelashes, and eyelash extensions everywhere. As my lashes are not as full as I’d like them, I thought, “That is a great idea! They looks so beautiful on everyone I see. Everyone is doing it, why not me?” Without thinking whether or not these eyelashes would be the right thing for me, I went to a professional and had them glued on. The eyelash expert warned me not to touch them or try to take them off, because I would pull my own eyelashes out with them. A couple of hours later my eyes started itching. I was having a bad reaction to the glue. The itching became very intense and my eyes started burning. You can image how I felt! I was so mad at myself for rushing into this choice without considering the consequences. I had to live with eye discomfort for another two weeks. Live and learn! My mistake was hastily following my worldly desire and I paid the price for my decision.

There is nothing wrong with wanting or having nice things, as long as the desire doesn’t override the will of God for our lives. “Being in the world” includes interacting with others and enjoying the things of the world. God has given us beautiful creations – great places to see, delicious food to enjoy from different places in the world, beautiful clothing, parties, movies, etc. But the second part of the phrase, “Not of the world” means different things in different situations, For example, don’t go to a bad movie just because someone in Hollywood produced it. Don’t hangout with people or in places which expose you to any form of evil. If you are a student, don’t join with groups that behave badly just because it is trendy. Don’t spend your money on a fancy car or clothes that you can not afford. Basically, Romans 12:2 teaches us to live in the world but stay clean from the stain of it. Mostly, we must consider carefully the thing we are about do. Is it aligned with God’s truth and His will for us? Pray about it, and wait to see whether this choice is for us or not. Bring it under the light of God and test it.

“Set your mind on the things above, not the things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

The Bible translates Romans 12:2 like this; “Our refusal to conform to the behavior of this world’s values, must go deeper than the level of behavior and customs of the world. Be transformed by renewing our minds.  It is possible to avoid most worldly customs and still be proud, selfish, stubborn, and arrogant. Only when Holy Spirit renews, re-educates, and redirects our minds are we transformed.” Renewing our minds “switches the channel” of our thinking.

God spoke to me through this verse, giving me a deep understanding. I felt like I was born for this moment, ready to gird my waist with the truth of God and go face the world. I asked the Lord to help me according to His will. He asked me to listen to Him carefully – to watch how He was going to fit my request to His plans. I was tuned in to His Voice. He warned me, “Your walk back to the world will be a very difficult and bold walk. Some people may not understand it. They have eyes to see, but cannot see, they have ears to hear, but they cannot hear. But I will be with you every step of the way, as I have since you were born. I will never leave you or forsake you for that is my everlasting promise to whoever believes in Me.”

“Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.”(Ezekiel 12:2)

Before I headed back to the world, I looked in the Bible for more guidance and words of wisdom and encouragement. His word was saying that the Lord offers the bread of life on His one hand and the living water on His other hand with instructions (God’s word) to His followers; “A lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105).

His words were saying to me, “You will need spiritual nourishment from this point on. Not only will you need it for yourself, you should be offering it to others with love, compassion, and patience. For I have crowned all my children with love and compassion.” He provided all I needed and more. He reminded me through my daily readings, “Make sure that you put Me in the far-front of your mind both day and night. Then you will be equipped to handle whatever comes your way. You will still have some difficulties in your life, but you will have Me by your right side. Together we will push back the darkness and together we will carry your burdens. For I am the Light of the world. This is how I live in the world, through you and other believers. Some people might reject you, just as they rejected Me. Do not let your heart be troubled, for I have overcome the world. (John 14:1) I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) He continued, “If you are not adequately equipped for the journey for which you are heading, you will grow weary and lose heart. Fix your eyes on Me, the author and perfecter your faith, for I am seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The Lord warned me not to chase after worldly pleasures, for the pleasure of this world is no longer my calling in life, but rather worship of God alone.

I started praising Him, saying, “You are Love, You are peace, you are life and hope. You alone refresh and restore. I give you all I have, the good, the bad, and especially my best. Have your way in my heart. Thank you for all you have done and for all you are going to do in my life!!!”

(Acts 2:28) “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.”

Now I’m telling the whole world through my blog (which is only one of many ways) about the light of God. He wants us to live in a way that is set apart from those outside of the faith, and be a light to those who are in spiritual darkness. And we are being changed into the image of Christ, causing our desire for the things of this world to become less and less as we gain maturity in Christ.