After having my baby girl, I was so excited. I dressed her up in the cutest girlie outfit I had and was prepared — to show her off. Eager and happy, we pranced off to church, my new package in tow. I sat in the row smiling, and waiting for people to come and see her cute little face. That is, until no one came over. No one said anything to me. They didn’t walk over. They didn’t ooh and ahh. They didn’t even give much regard to me as I struggled to carry her little baby car seat out the door with her in it. I felt invisible. Unseen. Rejected.
If your heart feels strongly, like mine, even small hurts – hurt. They make you feel alone.
And if you’re alive, people-hurts are not isolated incidences.
Lately, an incident pricked my heart. It wanted to pull me back into frustration at them. Yet, all I could hear God whisper, was, “Kelly, look at me, not them.”
Look at me:
- protecting you.
- guiding you.
- teaching you.
- showing you.
- preparing you.
- readying you.
- leading you new places.
- taking care of you.
Don’t look at them and how you perceive they are:
- rejecting you
- denying you
- abandoning you
- hurting you
We should all do the same. Look at Him and not “them” (the offenders, the issue, the mean ones, the oppressors, the retaliators, the cause of our pain, the abusers).
Because, when we decide people are:
- blocking us
- (eternally) causing harm to us
- doing things unto us
- leaving us behind, hurting us, not wanting us, or
- punishing us. . .
. . . we lose. We lose control over our emotions. We lose attention on God. We lose mindshare that could’ve been directed to prayer, praise, and a greater purpose. We misplace devotion.
This is always our loss, not theirs.
Beyond this, we never know if:
- they even realize what they were doing.
- we misunderstood what happened.
- there were 500 other things at play that we never considered
- God wanted us to learn more than He wanted us to immediately get our way.
- God is setting something up – greater than we expect or realize.
- God wants us to get a view into a part of our heart, we’d otherwise be blind to.
People do not make us, shape us or grow us, Christ does.
He rules. He is always in charge.
With this, we can forgive “them” and look back to Him.
We can ask:
- God what are you doing?
- What are you teaching me?
- Why did this happen and what do you want me to know?
We can learn, grow, understand, forgive, hope again, and be filled with fresh faith. This is our way, always. Don’t give up.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:17-18)
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Wise thoughts here, Kelly! When we look to the people around us for any kind of security or lasting affirmation, we’re bound to be disappointed.
This is so helpful. I often feel the sting of hurt and rejection and my eyes and thoughts are not on the Lord when this happens. Armed with this wisdom, I now have some practical ways to look beyond the hurt and put my attentions on Him.
Thank you for this! It is so easy to misinterpret and place incorrect motives on others, especially when we are living out of our emotions. I love this call to step back and turn our face toward God.
Great reminder. Forwarding this to my teenage daughter who is suffering with friend issues. I know it will be an encouragement. laurensparks.net
This is always wonderful advice. Thanks, Kelly! “Look at Him and not them.”
Thank you for writing and offering a healthier perspective. This post will be one that I save to read again. The part where you said, “Look at me: taking care of you” really stood out to me because since my husband’s stroke, I’ve seen all of the countless and undeniable ways that God has provided for us as my husband has been recovering. It’s been the hardest time of our lives and my faith has taken a huge hit. I feel like I’ve been needing to learn to walk again spiritually as my husband learned to walk again physically. But we have seen God taking care of us each step of the way and we are so thankful for his faithfulness. Thank you again for writing this. It’s a good reminder to me.
Yes, we must keep our focus on Him, not others. Maree
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