Thursday, November 20, 2008

{Strong and Steady}

Yesterday I had what I will call a "Divine appointment". Those do happen, you know? More than you think. I just needed some comfort. A good listener. A warm wash cloth on a sleepy face. . . so, Thank you God for coming to the rescue.
After a long talk with one of the kindest persons I know. . . and then some quite time for me in my office. . . I was thinking. Actually, meditating on what I know for sure.
The conversation led me to "Day 13" in my book . . .
God allows some sand paper ( people that rub you the wrong way) people and toolshed trials into our lives for one reason: to increase the heat and pressure so we will become stronger. He's much more interested in our character than in our
comfort. Paul (one of my favorite guys) describes the "particle process" this way: "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us ~ they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong a steady" (Romans 5:3-4, TLB).
As uncomfortable or unsettling as we may find it, God intentionally places some people in our lives to rub us the wrong way, to smooth the rough edges of our character, so that we're more like Jesus. It's part of His plan to make my character strong and steady, so God allows people and pressure to build my character. Even our critics can teach and help us grow. We should be selective and not absorb all the criticism that comes our way, nor should we categorically dismiss it. Instead I favor the chewing-gum approach to criticism: chew it and spit it out - don't swallow it. Take advantage of criticism by chewing on it, absorbing the 10 percent or so that's valid, learning from it, and then spitting out the other 90 percent. Don't swallow it whole, but allow the flavor of criticism to help you grow.

We may be the only face of Jesus they'll ever see. God wants us to surprise them with His love in ways that only we can.
Love, Tonia

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