Peace & Perspective

Living in Peace by having the right perspective. Peace – ˈpēs Noun: Freedom from strife; a state of tranquillity or serenity. Perspective – per·spec·tive – pərˈspektiv – Noun: A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.


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Karma is not for Christians

I always cringe when I see Christians posting on Karma. Karma has nothing to do with God. Karma is a theological concept found in the Buddhist and Hindu religions. That fact alone should make Christians run but why do I see so many Christians wishing “Karma” on others or seeking any form of revenge?

First, as Christians, Karma is the last thing we should want on those who have betrayed or hurt us. Sure, our flesh may want revenge and for them to feel the same pain they caused us, but as Christians, we are to die to our flesh and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us with humility. Once you do that, your flesh takes a back seat and the Holy Spirit takes over and you begin to recognize the root cause of the lost soul who hurt you and how desperately they are in need of healing and prayer.

The Holy Spirit within us prompts our hearts to want the best for others – despite… Despite the pain they’ve caused, despite the betrayal, despite the unfairness. This is a great test to see where our level of spiritual maturity is. Wishing revenge or karma on someone who’s hurt you is a telltale sign of the level of your spiritual maturity.

  • Those with no spiritual maturity will wish karma and seek revenge upon those who have hurt them and will be at peace with that decision.
  • Those who are infants in spiritual maturity will wish karma and revenge on others but will feel that Holy Spirit nudge and know it’s not right to wish revenge on anyone and do their best to withdraw from these feelings.
  • Those who are growing in their spiritual maturity will reluctantly but obediently pray for the best outcome for those who have hurt or betrayed them. It’s difficult for them but they still do it and in doing it, they continue to grow spiritually and God rewards them for their obedience in giving them peace in the matter.
  • And lastly, those who are fully spiritual mature will have an automatic instinct to pray for someone that has wronged them and their heart will hurt for them because they have the discernment to know how badly they are in need of saving and inner healing that can only come from prayer and intercession. There is no wish to do them harm and all they desire is to see them healed and whole again. Because someone who is healed and whole cannot and does not hurt others.

Scripture is very clear that if we are walking the path of righteousness – not our righteousness but His, God will always vindicate us. I find comfort knowing that He knows my heart and my intentions always and I don’t have to explain anything to Him because He already knows and I can rest in that.

Patiently waiting for God to vindicate us means we must trust in His timing and that is very difficult. It means He alone will bring truth to light and expose darkness without any effort from us.

We must remain obedient and silent, not seeking to vindicate ourselves while we wait. We must understand and recognize that through the waiting, He is doing a work in everyone involved, including us and by being obedient, He will vindicate those who are walking in His righteousness and He alone will deal with those who are not. This brings me peace.

Once you have reached this peaceful realization that the bad behavior of others has nothing to do with you (assuming you’ve done some self-reflection and have owned your part of any conflict), give it to God and just wait. Soon peace will come, not by wishing punishment on whoever hurt you, but because you know a greater power is in charge of the situation and you can finally let go of all the exhausting effort in vindicating yourself. By waiting, trusting, and handing it over to God, you’ll not only receive righteous vindication, but it will be the sweetest form of justice you will ever receive without one bit of effort from you.

Take it from me because this is where I am now, receiving Godly favor in all areas of my life. Be sure to recognize what vindication may look like…sometimes it’s not as obvious as you have envisioned it. Vindication may be good health, good fortune, wonderful children, a blessed marriage, peaceful and joyful living, restoration of your reputation, or the emergence of new, Godly friends. Just be sure to recognize the blessings in your life…they are God’s favor for your obedience.

Psalm 17:2
Let my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.

Romans 12:19
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! If this blog has helped in any way, please share with others.

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Personality Tests

I’m an INFJ.

Because my mind has been overwhelmingly boggled for the past four years dealing with some of the most insane conflicts I’ve ever been a part of with one individual, notice I said, one individual, I often ask myself, “could it be me?” I have questioned my behavior, my motives, and my intentions over and over again, second guessing who I actually am. I mean, I know who I am, who I’ve always been, what I stand for, and what I don’t like the back of my hand. I’ve been this person for half a century. However, an emotionally and mentally unstable individual has an insidious power to place incredible doubt in the minds of even the most stable people. Unknowingly, I absorbed many of the false accusations and the now crystal clear and evident projections onto myself. I even questioned my own logic which I derive from society’s norm of what a healthy relationship is: common courtesy, mutual respect, accountability, empathy, and basic human kindness.

I started asking myself if I were the things that were so brutally projected onto me. It consumed me. It made me paranoid, especially around others. I became so very quiet and careful to not say the wrong things. If I did say things, I’d over analyze them wondering if I offended anyone. If I thought I had, I’d go out of my way to explain myself. I gave someone who has a history of chaos and turmoil and broken and divided relationships the power to mentally and emotionally wound me to the point where I didn’t even know myself. The lies circled in my head. I became overly sensitive to criticism fearing I was yet again at fault and failing those around me.

There was one (among many) hurtful false accusation that left me wondering who I am.  “Do I over-talk people? Do I interrupt? Do I not listen?” Today, I can confidently and boldly answer, “No, I do not!

I’ve been told by many that I am a great listener and I offer incredible advice. Friends have confided great personal issues with me and sought my advice because they have told me that due to my inspirational nature on how I’ve gracefully and triumphantly handled past trials, they value my opinion. These “friends” are in greater number than just one individual’s warped opinion of me.

I soon came to learn and understand that my “over-talking” my “interrupting,” and my “not listening” translated to, “I don’t want to hear anything from you while I’m in the process of bullying you, verbally abusing you, personally attacking you, and controlling the circular conversation going nowhere. If you shut it down by any dialogue whatsoever by trying to reason with me, disagree with me or attempt to interject any civility then I will lose control. Do you understand that when you speak, it takes away from my time to demean and belittle you and I risk you exposing my nonsense? You must understand that I must be in control and show you how powerful I am and the only way to do this is by being abusive and blaming you for everything so I accuse you of over-talking me and interrupting me so you will be terrified to speak any further and then I once again can have total and complete control over you, the conversation and the situation.”

So, a few days ago, out of curiosity and to dismiss any doubt in my mind as to who I am, I googled “personality tests” and took a few. Each time, my tests results confirmed I was an INFJ. This stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging.

I became intrigued with finding out what exactly this means and have read countless articles. To my delight, I found out I am indeed a caring, loving, nurturing person. In fact, the INFJ is known as “The Counselor.”  Some character traits about INFJ’s are:

While our character is complex and we only make up less than 2% of the population, we are strong humanitarians. We are idealists, doers, and dreamers. Our rare combination of vision and practicality often results in us taking on a disproportionate amount of responsibility in various causes to Status which so many of us are drawn into. We are deeply concerned about our relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large and are inherent givers. We are generally well-suited to the “inspirational” professions such as teaching (especially in higher education) and religious leadership as well as psychology and counseling. Our strengths are in communication and writing as well as listening. Another article actually described INFJ’s as having a “pleasant conversation style.” We are people who are passionate about helping those in need. We go to great lengths to avoid conflict. We are warm and affirming by nature as well as dedicated, loyal and nurturing. We have a high expectation of ourselves and others and seek long-lasting relationships. (http://www.humanmetrics.com/personality/infj)

(More information on INJF’s here: http://introvertspring.com/the-worlds-rarest-personality-infj-type-decoded/)

It is sad that I actually had to search for who I am as a person on the internet because of the emotional and mental damage someone else did to me due to their own instability. I had to take multiple personality tests just to prove to myself that I am who I say I am and I am a good person and my intentions are good – always. In my research, I’ve learned that it’s those of us who are empaths, seek to avoid conflict, put others first, are flexible and easy going, and attempt to keep the peace at all costs are the ones who typically get taken advantage of the most and narcissistic people are drawn to us because we’re easy to manipulate.

I encourage you to take some of these free personality tests if you have even the slightest feeling of guilt or are questioning who you are because of what someone has done or said to you. (Some links are below.)

For those of us who do have good intentions and mean no harm in our relationships, we should always still practice self-reflection. While we are caring, loving, and well-intended people, we are not perfect. If you are convicted about any shortcomings within a relationship, for God’s sake, own it. Own it and make it right. That’s how healthy people handle things. But never take the blame for something that is not your fault.

My definitive conclusion is for those of us who feel any guilt over a broken relationship, are beyond confused as to how things evolved into such chaos, are wondering if we are to blame, and are searching for answers to the dynamics of a situation that is completely foreign to us in order to try to understand it fully, then we are not the problem. People with the problem don’t think they have a problem so they will do no research to fix themselves because they don’t believe they are in need of any fixing.

Here is some information on the personality tests:

The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment. For more information, visit: http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/

Free personality tests:

https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

Please share your thoughts and results of your Personality Test in the comments. I would also love to hear if you feel that if you are an INFJ, you’ve been subjected to being taken advantage of too due to your flexible, good nature.


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The Repercussions of Denial and How to be Free From it

Denial will:

  • Allow you to continue to stay in a pit of darkness indefinitely.
  • Rob you of your peace.
  • Promote a delusional way of thinking where you believe your own lies and justify unjustifiable situations.
  • Eventually cause you to self-destruct.

Denial will not:

  • Bring resolution to any problem.
  • Change the facts of a situation.
  • Improve your life in any way.

Are you using denial as a coping mechanism? Denial falsely allows you to believe that if you don’t accept and deal with an unpleasant or painful situation, you don’t have to accept the truth and reality of it and therefore, it doesn’t exist. You blindly go about your life pretending everything is okay when it’s not masking your pain with the facade of joy and peace. This results in living a life of deception and will catch up with you as deception opens the door to more pain and difficulty to take root in your life.

By not facing truth and reality, the only thing you are accomplishing is holding yourself prisoner in your very own jail. You alone hold the key to escape out of your prison.

Soon you will see that avoiding whatever it is you don’t want to accept and burying it further and further inside you will only manifest into dysfunction in all other areas of your life. The more you prolong acceptance, the more detrimental denial is in your own life.

It will manifest into your mental state, your physical state, your relationships, your marriage, your home, your family and your overall peace.

Why not consider taking a new approach? There is a way out. Simply accept what is and face it head on!

Easier said than done, I agree. But once you begin by taking the very first step toward acknowledging that the denial must end and that you must now learn to cope with what placed you there to begin with, you are on your way to freedom! My advice comes from personal experiences resulting in many successful final outcomes motivating me to share it with you.

How? Here are a few easy and doable steps to freedom:

  1. You cannot do anything to improve your circumstances if you act in pride. Refusing help, guidance, truth, and reality will only keep you right where you are forever. Give yourself ample time to process the difficult situation, but do not stay there! As you begin to drop your pride, you will find that you are now able to humbly ask for help. As you do this, the main focus should be your freedom and revelation that the weight of the issue on your shoulders that you have been carrying for way too long will now be exchanged with a healthier way of coping with the problem. It won’t change the situation you have to deal with it, but it will drastically improve your quality of life as you navigate and accept the truth and reality of what you’ve been denying in a more objective and healthy manner. It will make a huge difference.

Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

  1. Seek wisdom. It’s amazing what we learn when we seek and thirst for wisdom and are ready to grow and be tested. The scales on our eyes are peeled away and light appears in the form of truth and understanding. Solicit advice from those who tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear – those are the people who truly care about your well-being. Those that speak with such boldness do it with your very best interest at heart, otherwise, they would not put themselves in such a vulnerable position of the possibility of your rejection and anger. This is a sign of true friendship – hold onto it dearly. It means they love you and want what’s best for you at any cost. This is where your humility will be tested. Do you accept the advice or do you resist? If you’ve checked your pride before soliciting advice, you’ll be sure to learn, consider new approaches, see things in a different light and be on your way to better understanding and dealing with your difficult situation. You’ll also be able to remove all emotional pain associated with it and cope merely based on facts and solutions and hit it head on. This is the difference between being a prisoner and being free.

Proverbs 27:5-6  – Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

Proverbs 4:6-7  6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.  7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

  1. Now that you have dropped your pride and searched for wisdom, you are on your way to freedom. Be assured that God has recognized your obedience thus far and is orchestrating all things to work out for your good as He works behind the scenes to send blessings your way. As you pray, remember to come boldly yet humbly before Him and ask Him to shield you with his protection, make a way where there seems no way, and guide you on the path that is His will for you as you allow Him to use you as His vessel in whatever it is He wants to accomplish through you in your trial.

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

  1. Last but not least, wait for His timing. This is where He does a work in you and refines you like silver. He works on your patience, your trust, your faith, and your self-control. You cannot rush His timing. The level of your faith, trust and obedience will show God the true condition of your heart and whether or not you are ready to be promoted and blessed. Do not give up if you do not see instant results. The longer your situation lingers, the more you have to learn. Resolution only comes when God sees you have learned all the lessons He wanted to teach you. A willing and submissive heart will learn these lessons much quicker than those who stubbornly and defiantly give up before the lesson is learned. A failed lesson will only result in further testing.

Isaiah 40:31 – But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Zechariah 13:9 – And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.

Be blessed as you accept what is and live in freedom!


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Attempting Peace with a Narcissist

Right off the bat, forgive me for using a title for this new post that is an oxymoron. It’s a contradiction of words. Peace and Narcissist do not belong in the same sentence. It’s like they need their own paragraphs…perhaps even their own chapters; that’s how far away peace and narcissist are from each other.

How do you bring reason to an unreasonable situation? How do you insert logic into an illogical mind? How do you begin to rationalize with someone so irrational?

Encounters with a narcissist are dizzyingly incomprehensible. Each and every encounter leaves your mind baffled and confused as it repeatedly asks, “What just happened?”

How can one strategically attempt to craft the correct words and actions, pre-planning every step of the way so as not to offend or anger someone who believes their land of delusion is reality and still be brutally shot down because it was once again not sufficient enough to satisfy their domination over you?

You finally think you’ve arrived at the precisely chosen peaceful, loving, merciful walk-on-eggshell verbiage in order to approach an unapproachable person for no other goal than to try to resolve situations which derived from absolute nonsense to begin with provoked and instigated by an overbearing controlling bully with a wacked ideology, only to be met with a new round of more demands, more belittling, more demeaning, and more control.

I’m really not that slow of a learner but why don’t I know this yet? Ugh. I think this time I finally get it.

It’s not because I’m unintelligent. It’s because of how I do life. I give others another chance. I give others the benefit of the doubt. I try to find the good in the bad. It’s the mentality by which I live by.

Here’s the revelation I finally get. I am trying to apply social graces, civility, normality, logic, and rationale to someone who doesn’t grasp the most basic common sense behaviors and norms that stable, healthy members of society live by. Whew! That’s a relief. I get it!

Yes, I get it. However…I still can’t process it and it’s still dizzyingly incomprehensible to me.

Keep on doing what is right and that includes removing unresolvable toxic relationships once and for all.

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The High Road

“The high road” is a very misused and misunderstood declaration by many during and after conflicts. Unfortunately, many do not seem to fully understand the real meaning of it. The very act of claiming to take the high road is not the high road!

Broadcasting what is supposed to be a very selfless act is really just a desire to appear better than someone else. The mere act of broadcasting it completely invalidates it. An insatiable need to tell everyone that you took the high road in a situation is a premeditated mission to make the other person look bad. You are expecting to receive admiration and praise from others for your “good deed” and are even hoping that others will side with you and turn against the other party because you are so admirable. And certainly, posting that you took the high road on Facebook or any other social media outlet is the exact opposite of the high road. To anyone with a genuine heart and a standard of true ethics, this declaration made by you is completely transparent and portrays who you really are and what you are really trying to accomplish.

To those who feed into your desperate need for attention and admiration at your attempt to boast about your integrity, they are just as ignorant in their response. Comments are sure to consist of and insinuate negativity about the other party all while inflating your ego as they elaborate about how wonderful of a person you are doing exactly what you had hoped. Sadly, they also do not understand the true meaning of the high road or integrity for that matter.

Taking the high road is an unspoken, humble, and selfless stance in a conflict. It does not come from anger or sass. It has no pride. It is not an avenue of control or belittling someone else. It is not for the admiration or praise of others. It has no malice behind it. It doesn’t seek to hurt anyone or to make ourselves appear better than anyone else. It has nothing to do with anyone but you and your true integrity. It means you don’t contribute to a conflict and morally choose to do what is right. You remain peaceful and surrender so as not to escalate a conflict further and make every attempt at peace, reconciliation and compromise. It is not done out of superiority. It is a genuine act of remaining hopeful that the conflict will be resolved at some point and you sincerely want the best for everyone involved. It means you are willing to work toward resolution and peace. There is no anger, hate or vengeance involved and there is absolutely no smearing of or attempts to make the other person appear like the villain and you the saint. When you truly have taken the high road, no words are necessary for others to see your true character. “You will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16-19

In summation, the high road is a selfless act of choosing the morally correct response in the name of peace and reconciliation without having to advertise to anyone how wonderful you are. You quietly surrender and allow your life be a reflection of who you are and the ethics in which you live by. You pray for peace in the conflict and are willing and ready to resolve it understanding that you may either have to take accountability for your actions and apologize or extend grace and forgiveness.  That my friends is the high road!

If more people truly took the high road, imagine the conflicts that could be resolved, the feelings that could be spared, and the peace that would result.

Matthew 7:16-19

16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore, by their fruits, you will know them.

 

Have you misunderstood or misused what the true meaning of the high road really is? Have you intentionally declared taking the high road only for the admiration and praise of others all while attempting to belittle someone in the process? Has this perspective helped you so that you can better respond to future conflicts, truly take the high road and work toward peace?

I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below and share your perspective. If this has been helpful, please consider sharing and following my blog.