YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL… How exactly do you know that??

What do you do when you feel like trouble is hemming in on all sides?  When the fears of life, just want to swallow. you whole?  How do you face each day with little or no answers?  And how does one stay strong in their faith in circumstances like these.

I don’t pretend to know what circumstance you are facing today, or how it will play out.  I can’t even say that I would be able to “understand” it.  It’s so easy to look at yourself and what you are experiencing and think that it makes you an immediate expert on suffering.  But think about it… do you really think that similar situations make the response even remotely the same?

Of Course not.  We can come alongside a suffering person and we can empathize with them (put ourselves into what we think that their situation looks like and thereby assess how we think we might respond).  Although this is a good approach for empathy, it is not a good response to encourage someone who is suffering.

Let me explain… As I have been struggling through this new life journey I find myself on, I have had so many people tell me that they know how I feel.  Most of the time, I would simply smile and not comment, but every so often, when i’m just not in the mood to accept something I know cannot be true. I just get frustrated, and sadly my natural response is to become defensive.

So when this happens my typical (less than loving or gracious) response, would go something like this,  “Really?  tell me how YOU can possibly know how I feel”?? (sarcasm added for effect).  Then they would proceed to explain their situation, that although MAY  have similar points… but, is NEVER the same.  The truth of the matter and the problem lie in the fact, that although there may be landing points that are similar, the circumstances, ongoing factors and situational differences alter the outcome drastically.

When I look at my situation, I look at it through the factors of what I did or did not do to get us into the situation.  Some of these were good and well-intended, others may have been irresponsible or even sinful.  These circumstances alter how I deal with and feel about the situation, as well as how I respond in the low times, when I simply cannot feel Gods presence near me.

On this particular day, we had been discussing Gods faithfulness and Gods timing, in our Bible study.  I was in a particularly fragile state emotionally… as I mentioned earlier, I was feeling hemmed in on all sides and completely overwhelmed.  As well, another lady from our group, had been going through some extremely significant family illnesses, and she also was struggling to wait on Gods timing, we were both sharing our pain with the group.

It was during this conversation, that a very well-intentioned lady piped up that “she knew EXACTLY how we were both feeling”.  She proceeded to take the next 10 minutes expressing her case as to what she had gone through previously, that now made her an expert in these two completely different situations.  Sadly by doing so, she actually inadvertently minimized the trauma and fear both of us were feeling.

As I said, I don’t believe this lady had any ill-intent in her words or thoughts, she simply wasn’t aware that her well intentioned encouragement, came up short and left both of us feeling unheard and once again alone in our personal place of grief.  We both went from a place of being Loved and heard, to a place of feeling small and insignificant… like our HUGE life issues were commonplace day to day happenings, that we should simply just get over.  After all… hers were all better so ours would be better too.

Sadly, there are no guarantees that things WILL be better, for myself or my friend with the family illnesses.  Bankruptcies still happen,  and people still die… not all situations come out smelling like roses…Yet, God is still very much in ALL of it.

I’ve come to learn that we don’t need to know the outcome.  What we need to do, is lean into God during the process.  Our transformation is often during the most challenging of times, and we have the choice as to how we respond in the process… particularly to God.

On this particular night, God gave me discernment to not respond with sarcasm or defensiveness.  He helped me to see, that not everyone who speaks carelessly has ill-intent.  He taught me that I was more responsible with HOW I responded in these moments than the actual event taking place.

He also opened a window in my minds eye, to the attempted attacks of the enemy.  You see, If I had responded in my typical weak defensiveness, I would have played directly into the enemies hand.  I would not have responded in Love, rather with malice.  I would likely have hurt another person, causing the ripple effect of even more damage, not to mention various forms of other fall out, within our Bible study group.   It was here that God reminded me that He was at work, making me Complete… Strong… and Firm… and that He was still in Control.

Journal Entry:  #21

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your Word that teaches me how to stay on track when times get difficult.  Lord, You have been so faithful to me, thank you for your blessing and favour.  

Lord God, You are Might and Power and Strength, but we so often keep our focus, that locks onto Love and Grace misses out on the nature of your Mighty Power.  Thank you For that You ARE powerful and BY your power you also care for your children.  Help me Lord to trust in your timing for these things. 

Help me Lord, to keep my eyes fixed on You, but to also be very aware of the enemy of my soul, who waits for an opportunity to arise when I am weak, where he can cause me to turn my eyes away from You and lead me to sin against You.  

Your Word tells us “to resist the devil and he will flee”, as well to, “stay strong in your faith and You will come near”.  Come near me Father during these difficult times we are in.  Forgive me Lord, for only seeing the struggles; which in my mind cause them to grow even bigger.  Increase my faith Lord, help me to focus on the Mighty Power of God.  

Lord, I know your children around this world are suffering, many in similar financial situations as me, and many far worse than I can even begin to imagine.  I pray for my Christian brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for loving you.  Keep them strong in the face of this evil Lord… rescue them.

I pray for those trapped in poverty and hunger;  fill them with the bread and water of life Father.  Pour your Love down on your Children today, strengthen and heal them as only You can, hear their prayers Lord and provide for their needs I pray. 

Help me to give and support and do the things within my means to be able to Love and serve my brothers & sisters suffering for your name Jesus.  

Lord God, thank you that Christ Jesus chose me to share in his Eternal Glory, use me I pray to bring others that you have chosen, into the family of God.  Open the eyes and hearts of the unbelievers so that they might receive your saving Grace Lord.  

Use me to plant and/or harvest, however you see fit Father, All for your Glory.  We know that we will have times of plenty and times of want, as there is a season for everything.  I pray that as we are currently in this season of need that you will strengthen my heart and my faith.  

Help me to TRUST through this time of testing in my life, that God the Father will make me; Complete – Steady – Strong – and Firm, for his Glory.  Thank you that Almighty God is in control forever.  To God be the Glory… In Jesus Name ❤️ Amen

My Final Thoughts & Encouragement:

What do you do when people disregard your thoughts or feelings?  When people minimize the traumatic situation you are facing that looms so large in front of you.  How do you respond?  Do you push back… and play the ‘one up’ game?  Do you stuff down the feelings…smile and act like nothing was said? Or, do you retreat… and crawl back into a safe cocoon alone, choosing not to share in the future?

I want to encourage you to lean into God.  Listen for His voice and watch for ways He is providing opportunities for growth.  If you, like me, recognize a “typical pattern” you fall into, maybe God is showing you something He wants you to work on.  Pray for wisdom and discernment to be able to see the truth…even when the truth might sting a bit.

I am so thankful for those situations where I can so clearly see Gods teaching moments for me.  When He gently reminds me that He is still present, even if my situation has not yet changed.  When He shows me that He is still in Control and is the one that holds the outcome in His hand.  He reminds me of His promises for His Children,”that He will never leave them or abandon them”, that He IS Love… and that I am the intended recipient of that Love.

As well, I encourage you to look outside of the struggle you are facing, to look at those around the world in very precarious and oftentimes deadly situations, spend time in prayer for those sisters & brothers in Christ facing persecution just for following Jesus.  I can’t tell you why it helps but I can tell you with absolute certainty, that when I take my eyes off myself and allow the Holy Spirit to place them onto others, my situation always feels less out of control with God feeling powerfully more in control.

Surrender the outcome to God, surrender the process to Gods Glory, and surrender your heart more fully to Him today… after all He holds you in the palm of His mighty hand.

Blessings, Janet❤️. Journey4Jesus

 

Do you know Jesus ? He’s waiting for you… ( click the link to learn more) 

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{ If this benefited you in any way, I’d love to hear from you and I would be thrilled if you would share or invite more people to be encouraged.

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