Morning Devotion: Some things are a blessing, others are a lesson. God desires we have mutually loving, respectful, and life giving connections.
Over the years in ministry, life, and relationships I gathered some lessons learned. I shared some of these these with a buddy yesterday. I hope they bless someone else.
In Christian culture it is taught quite a bit to love others, put others first, love God. Not as much time is spent talking about healthy boundaries, how to guard your heart, what obstacles you will face as a leader or in relationships, what to do with abusive people (and no just pretending they are not violating love does not work-they need boundaries and consequences), or that God wants you loved well too.
Relational Lessons Learned:
1. Watch people for a year and put prayer on them (God show me their heart towards me-when God does, pay attention).
2. When people show you who they are, believe them.
3. Limit your inner circle to those you have prayed over and seen them demonstrate God love.
4. Understand at any time your inner circle can change.
5. Place all faith in God not people.
6. Place all confidence in God not people.
7. When someone shows you they do not care about you, believe them, do not look at words-look at actions.
8. Trust your instincts and listen to Holy Spirit.
9. Some relationships are for just a season and you need to understand when they are over they were just temporary.
10. Don’t try to make an associate into a friend; don’t assume a ministry assignment is a real friendship.
11. Don’t be quick to call everyone friend, examine them first.
12. Don’t let people just have free reign of your schedule. I did this with A few people. When they got busy it was like, “See ya!” This was my fault. I should have guarded my time better and NOT given them so much access to my life, thoughts, etc…they should have been need to know only people.
13. Understand it’s not always wisdom to lead your friends in ministry, some are better suited under someone they do not view as a peer. The greatest dishonor I have experienced in ministry has come from those who claimed to be my friend. Strangers often treat you better.
14. Don’t expect your friends to stick up for you, you stick up for yourself (set boundaries), and ask God for help.
15. Guard your heart, and don’t let everyone inside it. If someone is wreckless, you can love them without giving them full access to you. Use wisdom.
16. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
17. Understand that not everyone wants you to win, and if you become successful, some may turn on you.
18. Understand culture says people of color should be at the bottom, so if you rise, there are haters.
19. Keep God as your best friend.
20. Pursue God for all needs and wants and relationships.
21. Understand only those who have received God’s love for themselves can love you.
22. When or if people attack you, understand their greatest inner turmoil is within and attacking you is a means to handle low self worth, insecurity, and a flawed attempt to feel more powerful.
23. Understand just because a person is gifted, anointed, and can flow with Holy Spirit sometimes does not mean they possess the character of Jesus. Character is costly and involves intimacy with God.
24. Understand everyone is in process, even you. God is at work in those yielded to Him. Someone can buck God and walk in the flesh. In the flesh there is no holiness. Extend grace and walk in wisdom.
25. Loving difficult people does NOT mean you need to be best friends with them or give them VIP access. Use wisdom.
26. People make time for what they value. If they value you, they will make time-even if it’s a 15 second text message. Do not buy into the lie of busy. For some you may be the back up plan or on call prayer buddy. When they have a crisis they come find you. They value what you do, not you personally. Don’t mistake being needed for being loved. Love gives.
27. Value yourself the way God does and you will attract more people who value you too.
28. Ask God for His best yes in friendships, relationships.
29. Trust is developed over time. Don’t let people try to force you into trusting them when they have not demonstrated they are trustworthy.
30. Ask God for wisdom and discernment. Wisdom is a life preserver. Discernment lets you know what is right and almost right.
Once again I hope this helps someone. Some things I wish someone had told me instead of having to walk it out and learn the hard way.