Your Guide

guide a: something that provides a person with guiding information; b: a person who directs another’s conduct or course of life; c: a device for steadying or directing the motion of something (merriam-webster.com)

What guides you?

Before you answer too quickly, let me give you a few scenarios.

  1. You hurriedly run into the store to pick up a few things. You need to get in and out as quickly as possible. As you approach the check out lane, you see someone with an overflowing cart getting ready to get into the shortest line – the one you were ready to get into. If you quicken your steps just a bit, you could possibly get there before she does.
  2. The service at the restaurant is horrible. You suspect someone didn’t show up for work, because the servers are doing their best at trying to cover too many tables. But your coffee is regular, not decaf, and your toast is burned. Your server places the check on the table. It’s time to decide on her tip.
  3. You’ve been getting together with a group of women for a short time. It’s a group of women you feel a connection with and can see longterm relationships budding. You listen to them talk about a woman who called to say she’d miss the get-together because of a family issue, and you hear more of the family issue you feel you need to know. You’re fairly certain the woman wouldn’t want these details shared so freely, and you know you wouldn’t want the group talking about you when you weren’t there…but you wonder how they’ll respond if you speak up.

What influences your decisions?

Past experiences? Words of parents, teachers and friends? Expectations of who you are or who you should be? Standards of your faith? Guilt? Convenience?

When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Easier said than done sometimes. We’re inundated with a multitude of messages from many people around us. We’ve been bombarded with messages of our culture for years. Plus the fact that we’ll atrophy into selfishness because that’s just how people are. We have to be deliberate about not letting selfishness and pride guide us, being humble, honoring others, and being interested in the lives of others.

Being deliberate involves careful and thorough consideration as well as an awareness of the consequences. Next time you’re faced with a decision, ask yourself a few questions:

  • How will my decision impact others and my relationships with them?
  • What message am I sending and what values am I reflecting by my decision?
  • What am I basing my decision on, and is that basis credible?

In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus. Christ himself was like God in everything. But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be used for his own benefit. Philippians 2:5-6

Really, Women?

I’m tired of people hurting others. Specifically, I’m tired of women – in churches – hurting other women – in and outside churches. Sure, I know Christian women aren’t super women. They’re not immune to personality clashes, jealousy, spite, power struggles, etc. But…really?

I’m passionate about fostering healthy relationships – among individuals and teams. And I’m passionate about equipping and encouraging women – particularly in church leadership. Those two things combined mean I get to talk to women nearly every day. And I love it! Even when it gets messy, I feel I’m right where God wants me to be. But I still want to scream…”REALLY?!” At least once a week I hear from someone who was crushed by another’s comment, oversight or insensitivity. Perhaps they weren’t personally crushed but they were still affected because a woman on the same team, or a friend, or a coworker was directly involved.

I’ve thought about buying a car to decorate and drive to any problem area and “fix” the issues. But alas, I can’t fix them. There IS something I can do, and that’s pour into women, one at a time, to encourage her to build healthy relationships. Right now, that woman might be you. Perhaps I’ll dig deeper into these areas in later posts, but for now, please consider…

  • Stop the gossip. It’s not okay to disguise gossip as concern or prayer requests. It’s not okay to let someone else gossip. It’s not okay to share something with someone without the other person’s permission. It doesn’t take long to ask “Do you mind if I share this concern with _______?” Your default setting should be to NOT share. Sharing outside the relationship of the person involved isn’t necessary. Respect the other person. And respect yourself. You demean both when you gossip. A gossip ruins friendships. Proverbs 16:28
  • Toughen your skin. Not everything is about you. Not everyone is out to get you. Sometimes people say hurtful things because they’re having a bad day or there’s a misunderstanding…or they’re just being mean! Don’t take it personally. “Man up” – or in this case “woman up.” Take the high road. Don’t retaliate with meanness. Respond in patience, kindness, and, yes, even love. Hatred stirs up trouble, but love forgives all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12
  • Deal with conflict. Yes, you need to be forgiving, but you’re not forgiving someone when you bury hurt feelings into a deep corner of your heart. Or when you talk about the conflict behind someone’s back. Or when you start to assume someone’s thoughts or motives. If you can really let it go, let it go, but sometimes you have to make peace. Make is active. It doesn’t just happen.  Conflict can be tough, but when your goal is to come out on the other side with healing, whether the other person agrees or not, you’ll grow through the experience. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:18

Has someone hurt your feelings? Pray…and talk to the person about it.

Have you possibly hurt someone’s feelings? Pray, swallow your pride, and apologize. Even if you had good intentions and don’t think what you said or did was offensive, if someone took offense, it was offensive. You don’t have to admit to being a horrible person, but perhaps you need to take a step into humility. It’s not about you. It’s about a relationship.

We’re not going to be perfect in this life, but we need to be growing. We need to increasingly reflect God. That involves knowing God’s character, seeking God’s will and then obeying what God’s will entails…even when it’s uncomfortable or you don’t like.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to face God and hear him say: “Really?!”

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I stopped those childish ways. It is the same with us. Now we see a dim reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly. Now I know only a part, but then I will know fully, as God has known me. So these three things continue forever: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:11-13