Monday, January 14, 2013

They Have Underbellies Too

Today's Unglued Blog Update
As usual...I'm just mainly putting what Lysa has said in her book with some (very little--actually maybe not at all today) of my own insight/thoughts.

Really?!?!? Are you kidding me?!?!? That's usually my first thought when someone starts to come unglued on me.....sometimes through an ugly Facebook comment/message or text. Maybe they make a little passive-aggressive statement that doesn't feel very little. Maybe they stop calling & make it obvious they've avoiding me. Maybe they say hurtful things about me behind my back. Whatever their sign of unglued, it feels bad.

Basically, they are being critical of me. Sometimes criticism is fair. Maybe I messed up, & it would serve me well to reconsider. Other times, criticism is nothing but rotten spew. And man does it stink. But if I get stuck in the stink, it serves no good purpose.

But how else can I look at criticism? To get past the hurt so I can see if they have underbellies I should consider?

Remember, the underbelly is the vulnerable area...our personal development & spiritual lives. It takes tough work that isn't always immediately visible but it's the foundation to our health --emotionally & spiritually.

In an effort to protect my underbelly, I sometimes get all wrapped up in myself & tragically forget the underbelly of my critic --the place they are vulnerable & what they might be hiding & protecting beneath their harsh words & prickly exterior. This is a place they may never let me see. It's a storage place for their hurts & disappointments. It holds the root cause of their skepticism & the anger that probably has very little to do with me. I must remember, "For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of" (Matthew 12:34b). And from the overflow of their underbelly, they spewed.

If I forget the other person's underbelly, I am tempted to start storing up my own hurt, skepticism, anger, & disappointments. If I remember this underbelly, I have a much greater chance to keep it all in perspective.

This isn't easy. This process of examining my issues --& of being willing to be used by God to help a critical, hurting person.

It's hard. But it's godly. I am called to represent Christ wherever I go, to all those with whom I interact. Therefore, I re-present Him with each encounter. If I handle myself well, I can be reminded in Luke 21 that this will result in me being a witness for Jesus to this person: "And so you will bear testimony to me [Jesus]. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict" (verse 13-15).

Before I am in the midst of the hard situation, I need to make up my mind. That's what I'm doing as I consider my underbelly & their underbelly. I'm deciding in advance not to worry. Not to get all defensive. And to gather God's words & wisdom.

But that is SO easy to type out & SO hard sometimes to live out!

But I must remember these truths:
"We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).
"Whatever is true...think on such things" (Philippians 4:8).
"Set your heart on things above...set your minds on things above" (Colossians 3:1-2).

This isn't easy stuff, but it is good. It's a crucial part of my imperfect progress. With each of these types of encounters, I am given an opportunity to put on display that Jesus is the Lord of my heart & the Lord of my reactions. Therefore I must remember that Jesus teaches, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse" (Romans 12:14).

I must pray for an authentic heart. I should do the rare & beautiful thing of choosing to offer love in situations when most people would choose to scorn or ignore.

I need to dare to pray for an overwhelming sense of God's love --not love for the ugliness that has come from a critical person, but love for the soul created within them. That person belongs to God. He loves them. He treasures them even when He doesn't approve of their actions. He treasures me even when He doesn't approve of my actions. Thanks be to God!

"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).

When someone says something ugly about me, I hope they don't see me, but Jesus who reigns inside of me like the Bible reveals in Acts 4:13: "When they [the rulers and elders of the people] saw the courage of Peter and John and realized they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus" (emphasis added).

Oh I want that to be noted about my life! That my words, my love for those who love me --even more, my love for those who don't love me-- reveal that, yes, I have been with Jesus.

Me. The unglued woman who dared to look at her underbelly & saw some hard-to-see things:
Broken places.
Steps toward holiness.
Imperfect progress.
The hurt in those who hurt me --their underbellies.
Me looking a lot more like Jesus than I did before.

And to discover through all this seeing --being unglued isn't all bad.

Stay tuned for the next Unglued Blog Update

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