Peace with Others

No one likes to be criticized. No one enjoys negative comments. No one desires or requests put-downs. But the reality is, anyone who does anything takes the risk of being ridiculed. The tendency is, fly under the radar. Don’t do anything to stand out. Don’t do anything to create a target. Don’t do anything to warrant attention, ‘cause it could be negative.

When it comes to making a list of things we love about ourselves versus things we don’t really like or would like to change, the latter tends to be an easier list to make. I know it is for me. And I actually observed this when speaking at a women’s conference. I gave the ladies thirty seconds to make a list of things they didn’t like about themselves and then the same amount of time to make a list of things they loved about themselves. The “things loved” list was shorter than the “things not liked” list. Which means that we are hard enough on ourselves without the help of others. So why the need to contribute to someone’s “things not liked” list?

One thing I wish I could change about myself is how I care about others’ opinions of me. I can’t begin to describe how it hurts me when I realize I’ve been the topic of destructive speech or when I’m the recipient of unpleasant actions. It’s an emotion I much rather avoid. Therefore, it’s tempting to disregard the callings, ignore the vision and forget about being the person God desires me to be.

Yep. I just wrote that! Because, it is for real! I seriously have those thoughts. But I know I’m not the only one—which is why I wrote it. This blog is relational; reaching out, walking through and regrouping when these unpleasantries of life surface.

For someone who cares about others, I surely do put myself in a position of being criticized. I spent years performing vocally. Talk about vulnerability. There is always someone in the audience who thinks they could have sang it better, and many times probably could. I’ve opened my life up to numerous people through public speaking. While the Lord has given me the blessing of knowing and seeing lives touched through that ministry, I also am well aware of the critical hearts. And then there is here, in my writings. I share my life with countless people and yet again, there are those who have blessed my heart with encouragement, and others who have picked me apart.

Proverbs 18:21 tells us there is life and death in the power of the tongue, and many people are walking around like zombies because of the words they choose to speak. How refreshing to speak life. I know. I know. Sometimes it’s a challenge, but that’s when we can remember what Thumper’s father says. Remember? In Disney’s Bambi, when Thumper points out that Bambi doesn’t walk very well, his mama says, “Thumper, what did your father tell you this morning?” Yes. You remember. “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” Putting people down is like dripping barbeque sauce on a white shirt; it stains. While we may ask for God’s forgiveness and their forgiveness, while we may try to clean it up, those words leave a mark, and not just on their heart, but on ours too.

Yes, those thoughts like, “what’s the point?” and “who really cares?” cross my mind. And although it bothers me and hurts me, it’s not gonna stop me, because I know these are tactics to prevent me from doing and being what the Lord desires. Who said it would be easy? Who said it’d always be fun or pleasant?

I realize there are people who flat out don’t like me, they don’t agree with me and they don’t want anything to do with me. But I can’t let pessimisms predicate who I am. And you can’t either. At the end of each day, remember whom we live to please. He gives us the courage to fly in the radar. He equips us to be all we can. He’s the greatest contributor to our best qualities. And He reassures us when the world hurts us.

May you feel His peace…..

Proverbs 16:7 (NKJV) When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Romans 12:18 (NIV) If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

So cute…. So true….

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4 thoughts on “Peace with Others

  1. Heather, I too, cannot imagine anyone being so cynical as to not like you! You are sooo likeable! May God continue to give you courage & strength to keep on speaking, writing & doing what you were meant to do in this journey!

  2. Heather, thank you for writing this post. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve been so worried about starting back to school lately. I’ve been staying home with just my little munchkins and my husband for the past two years, and being around so many new people scares me to death! I had resounded myself to just not speak to anyone, for fear of people not liking me or saying mean things about me. You’ve given me the courage to reach out and try to make new friends. Thank you!

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