Freezer-Burned

Recently, someone who loves us very much cleaned out their freezer and gave us a bunch of food. So, I decided to make some of those goodies as a side with dinner tonight… only to find out that they were… well… freezer burned.

The sides I thought would go well with our dinner…went really well with the trash can. I had to call on backup of the canned goods and cottage cheese.

I’m not upset about it, but it really got my wheels turning.

They meant well.

They thought they were helping.

But really, it caused me to stumble in my meal planning process.

Has this ever happened to you- well meaning people actually cause you to stumble. Maybe you’re in a situation where you confide in someone and they give you some not so great advice? Maybe they even try to show they are right by adding some misinterpret scripture…Or maybe you’re not seeking advice, but someone insist that you are wrong and here’s their proof…  a quote from a random place in the Bible.

They may have had good intentions, but who’s will were they seeking?

freezer burned

I’ve been that well-intentioned friend. The one who gave the not so great advice with a little piece of scripture attached.

I can remember having a friend admit to me that she was suffering from depression. I told her, “I’ve been there. God helped me beat my mental battles. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.” I meant well. I did. But was I really representing God or was I representing myself?

I told her that God did it for me. I quoted a good scripture. TO MY HURTING FRIEND.That wasn’t what my friend needed. She didn’t need me to quote scripture to her. She needed to know that she wasn’t alone, I understand, and I am here for her. But more importantly that God is there for her. God sees her. He knows her hurt, and He wants her to lean into Him. Cast your burden on the Lord because He cares for you. (That would have been much more appropriate and effective.)

I gave her freezer-burned food. I gave her something that seemed like a good idea, but really wasn’t consumable.

I’ve also been on the other end of that.

Not too terribly long ago I made a very difficult decision. One that I really wish I would not have been forced to make. People who thought they knew the situation were trying to give me advice to get me to change my mind. But their advice was based on their will. They even quoted scripture at me to convince me their way was the right way, implying the choices I made were against God’s will. The worst part about that was that they misquoted scripture. They never read the context that it was written. So, instead of helping, they actually created more problems.

I know they meant well, but really, they stirred up a lot of emotions in me. Had I not already been leaning into God with all I had, I would have had some real problems with God since they were quoting scripture out of context and implying that my convictions were wrong. The decision I made; I purposely did not tell them details behind. One-because it was none of their business. But more importantly, I needed to be respectful of all parties involved by not creating drama and spreading gossip.  Though God gave me peace over the situation, I ended up hurt and confused by well-intentioned people using the Bible as a stone instead of for what it is- love.

These people were serving me freezer burnt meals. They were trying to offer me scripture, but really, they were manipulating scripture to fit their will.

Please do not misunderstand me. Scripture is a powerful tool to use to help a friend in need. It is useful for teaching, rebuking, and correcting.

But it has to be the correct scripture, in context, and led by the Holy Spirit.

Any time you are doing something for your will and claiming it to be God’s, you are misrepresenting Christianity.

If you have to do a google search on Bible plus the topic you are looking for, make sure to read the entire section that the quote comes from. A quote taken out of context can wreak havoc on another’s faith.

So when you see a hurting friend, make sure to serve them good solid food. Pray for guidance. Recognize their needs. If God puts a scripture on your heart, share it. A friend loves at all times. Be sure to be sharing your love and God’s love.

 

“A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.”

Proverbs 17:17

Guarded

While at the library Thursday, my daughter checked out a bunch of books. Since she forgot her library bag, the librarian gave her a plastic grocery bag to carry her books. As she was walking out of the library, the bag ripped, and her books fell all over the ground. She scrambled to pick them up, but since they were all different shapes and scattered, it was no easy task. Her brother went over to help her, but she quickly covered her books and said, “These are my books.”

“I know,” he said. “Would you like me to help you and carry some out to the car for you?”

Immediately her expression changed from anger to relief.

1548707132973

Oh, what a perfect image of how I must be when people are trying to help me. I’m so overwhelmed by the problem at hand, that an act of help has me responding poorly.

For whatever reason I’m guarded. I’m prideful. I don’t even realize they’re trying to help.

My poor, poor husband. As I am typing this, I can recall so many instances where he offers me help, but I hover over my scattered books and say, “Leave me alone. I’ve got this.”

In my defense, no one likes being told your wrong. Even if that’s not exactly what is said, that’s how I internalize it.

Internalizing messages has been a major heart ache in my life. I learned from a young age to “read people,” but not based on their words. More like their emotions, facial expressions, and body language. Sadly, I thought there were two conversations being had. The one that was being spoken and the one that was meant.

It took me a long time to realize, most people say what they mean and mean what they say. You don’t have to read between the lines. But I still do it.

I still try to find the hidden message in what’s being said. And it causes my heart so much agony.

I suddenly think people don’t like me, when they barely engaged in conversation with me.  Now I am wondering what I did wrong, when maybe they just had a bad day, a headache, a problem, or lacked the time to actually talk to me.

When I’m running late, I start the negative talk wondering why I can’t ever be on time. When I say something dumb, I feel dumb. When someone makes a joke and it takes me a minute to get it, I feel stupid. If I make a Pinterest dinner flop, I think I’m a horrible cook. When I fail, I tell myself I am a failure.

It has taken me some time to realize that I internalize things because I place other people’s opinions higher than my own. I place other people’s opinions higher than God’s.

I need to see myself as God sees me. “Perfectly and wonderfully made.” I need to recognize the good work that He has started in me and know that He is faithful to carry it out to completion.

Yes, we are going to mess up, but we are not a mess. Yes, we will fail, that doesn’t mean we are failures.

We are daughters and sons of the God! Our creator! Our Lord. He cares for us. He knows us by name. He has a plan for our lives! Once we can wrap our heads around all that, we can begin to see ourselves as image bearers of God. After all that is the way God sees us. The good news is that we do not have to see ourselves that way before we can begin a relationship with Him through His son Jesus Christ.

Let me take a bit of burden off of you for a moment and tell you something that maybe you haven’t heard before. Your worth and your identity is not in your marital status, family achievements, occupation, accomplishments, or any other worldly things. Your worth is in Christ! You were bought with a price. Christ paid that ransom. God loves you so much and he knows what you are worth and that is exactly why He was willing to die for you personally. As you go on with your life, I want to encourage you to remember that Jesus died once and for all. There is no need to stick Him back on the cross to die a second time. Once was enough.

Let down your guard. Accept help from those offering it. And look up. Thank God for what He has done in your life. Walk in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Embrace your identity in Christ!

“The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are his children. The reason the people in the world do not know us is that they have not known him.”  1 John 3:1