Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

Guard your heart

People can be so unkind.  I was talking with a friend who has been on the receiving end of some not kind criticism that is untrue and just plain mean.   It has managed to get into her heart. 

This conversation found me explaining to her the scripture in Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else guard your heart for out of it flows the well springs of life.” 

We can’t stop people from spewing forth garbage, but we can stop it from taking root in our heart.   As a pastor’s wife I have had numerous ‘opportunities’ to grow in the area of guarding my heart.  Early in our ministry my husband would remind me to stop focusing on the person who is speaking junk (you can’t stop people from speaking) and instead see all the people who aren’t causing problems.  It does matter what we focus on.  It seems like it is easier for people to gravitate to the negative.  i.e. 10 people can say they love a person’s new dress, 1 person will say it is awful, and what does that person take to heart?  Many times the awful comment.  This is not what God would have us do. 

When I was a young kid I watched in horror at what was done in the name of God to our Pastor and his family.   They were going great guns for the Lord in youth outreach.  However, the older members felt they should be his priority.  Long story short they were forced to leave our small community – not due to moral failure, error in theology, poor conduct, ect.  This was the beginning of the end for this church.  What was once a thriving church became a church no more.  This is a tragedy. 

Because my parents were not a part of this loud group of people, but believed that one should stand behind the man God placed in the pulpit, we remained in contact with our Pastor and his family.  In fact, we spent our vacation with them one year at their new place of ministry.  God had blessed and restored what was a very difficult time in their life.

Later they came to Iowa for awhile and I had the privilege of having them over for a meal.  It was then that I really began to see how important it was to guard your heart.  To see how they have come through the trials of ministry and still have such a love for people – not letting bitterness take root in their heart.  It was a huge life lesson for me.  Those who don’t guard their heart can become bitter, angry, depressed, and/or filled with resentment.  

So when people are being unkind, remember you have no control over what others say, but you do have control over what you will allow to get into your heart.  God does not make junk.  You are valuable.  There are people who care about you.  God loves you and He is there to help.  This too shall pass.  God will make this trial a blessing.

til next time

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August 22, 2008 - Posted by | Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Now if we could just find a way to keep from coming in the proverbial back door the knee-jerk urge to throttle the poor jerks in life when their comments spring out at us or somebody we love from out of the blue.

    Isn’t it funny how inconsistent we can be in our reactions even. It’s wonderful when we can have the grace of God to see past the words to the person to where the compassion is stronger than the sting and how heart-breaking when all we seem to be able to see is our own pain and would lash out at anything if we would think it might stop it.

    Why is it that it can seem so much easier to take when you can see and understand where the comments are coming from than when it flies at you from nowhere reeking of betrayal and/or deliberate slander?

    Comment by LisaB | August 22, 2008 | Reply

  2. good thoughts Lisa. When the ‘rug is pulled out from under us’ so to speak it can really ‘throw us for a loop’. That’s why it is so important that we focus on the good in life and not take to heart words that are hurtful. This is truly a life long learning process.

    I long for the day when I ‘respond’ more than I ‘react’. Somedays I think that I am there but then the ‘knee jerk urge to throttle’ rears its ugly head. 😦

    Comment by Gloria | August 23, 2008 | Reply

  3. My problem is that I handle it fine at the moment of contact and THEN go home and focus on it. I noticed that I struggled the most with doing this right before I went to bed and when I would first wake up. A discipline that I have had to develop to help in this area is to use music, or reading to keep my mind focused on the positive when I lay down and to get out of bed immediately upon awakening. Once I’m up and busy I don’t think about it so much – the trouble is when mind us unoccupied. Perhaps this is what Paul was talking about when he said to “gird up the loins of your mind.”

    You and Curt are such fountains of wisdom! I’m so thankful God has placed you in our district!

    Comment by Ruthie Oberg | September 19, 2008 | Reply

  4. Ruthie, Thanks for sharing some very practical ways to guard your heart. Very good!
    Another are I find that helps is journaling my thoughts on matters of the heart to God. But then like the Psalms, as I write eventually I turn my focus to who God is and who He says I am.

    Comment by Gloria | September 19, 2008 | Reply


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