Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and it is traditionally a day for getting together with family and eating a lot. Perhaps watching football. Thanksgiving has always been a big family weekend for our family. We get together, as many of us as possible, and spend the weekend together.
This year we will be missing a bunch of people, but those who can will gather and have a traditional turkey feast and then spend two days having fun together doing various things.
I am thankful for that. I am thankful that I have most of my family still alive, and that they all live on the west coast. I am thankful that, by and large, we are all healthy.
And I am thankful for my Lord and Savior. Thank you, God, for your blessings this year. I may not have been as appreciative as you would have liked me to be with the “challenges” you have given me, but I am thankful that you were always right there with me. Thank you for saving me from my lost life.
What are you thankful for this year?
I have been struggling the past year or so with what God wants to do in my life — and what I can do for God. I have also been looking for a job in an area that I have a lot of experience in, but my job titles and history may not suggest, immediately, that I have much experience in.
So the following blog really hit home with me, as it spoke to me on many different levels. I can’t say it better than she did. I know the post is long, but I think it is well worth reading.
Have you ever been bullied? I was bullied, in Junior High School. By two different girls who would boss me around, call me names, shove me. I remember at one point we were playing a kick ball game (my whole class) and one of the girls started yelling at me, and then telling me what to do and not to do. The other kids looked at her with a puzzled look while I just ignored her, secure in my safety in the big crowd. One of my classmates finally said to her, “Why don’t you leave her alone? She’s not doing anything to you.”
Which was true. I had four older brothers and three older sisters, and I knew the best defense was to ignore the person giving you a bad time. All they wanted was to get a reaction from me, and if I failed in that they would leave me alone. Eventually. Sometimes that took a long time, which is the problem with using that method.
The girls shortly started to ignore me as much as I ignored them. I remember one of them, in my Junior year at High School, tried to strike up a conversation with me while we both happened to be walking out of school at the same time. I told her I was flying to Washington State for the Easter holiday to go house hunting with my parents, as we were moving up there in the summer. She stopped and looked surprised, and I remember glancing back at her, puzzled. I thought she had tripped or hurt herself or something. “Well,” she said almost in wonder, “We’ll miss you around here.” I just smiled and walked away. It felt like a victory, but later I thought that maybe she had wanted to be friends with me? I was in no way going to befriend someone who had deliberately treated me so horribly for several years. I truly can’t remember the names of either of the girls. It has been many years and I forgave them long ago. It just is not important enough to me now.
Which brings me to the next thing. Have you forgiven people who have wronged you? Who have hurt you? Mistreated you? I had a friend who I got along with great. We would talk on the phone several times a week and get together a couple of times a week. Then, she asked a lady from church to move in with her. She needed help with her mortgage payment. But what hurt was that suddenly I was no longer invited when she did things. See, the other lady had a boyfriend, and my friend soon had a boyfriend. And I didn’t. They both ended up getting married, and I was invited to both weddings, but did not see them or talk to them afterwards. It really hurt to be dropped like that. Just recently that lady found me on Facebook and sent me a friend request. I thought about it. And then I decided not to accept.
Not because I hadn’t forgiven her. I truly had. But, after being betrayed and dropped as a friend I couldn’t trust her to not do it again. I wish her well and not harm – but I don’t want to see her or talk to her.
Does that make sense? What about you? Were you bullied? Did you bully? How have you resolved that? Or have you? Have you forgiven? Do you need to forgive?
The mediation between my co-worker and I took place last week. I had prepared by thinking through conversations and also making a list for myself of all the important things I wanted to talk about. I prayed and asked God to please help me to speak the truth in love.
We were with the mediator 2 1/2 hours. Which is a long time, but it went pretty fast. When I opened my mouth to start talking what came out was not what I had been planning. But we spent quite a bit of time talking about it, and when I was offered the chance to bring anything else up I brought up only one other thing on my list.
Since I had prayed about it and asked God to help me through this process, I felt I had said everything I needed to say, even though I didn’t say all the things I thought I wanted to say. It was an environment where my co-worker could feel safe without distractions and really listen to what I was saying. And I think she did. I think she really did see things from my perspective, and respect what I had to say.
Maybe nothing will change at work. Maybe she will go right back to those habits that landed us in mediation after all. But at least for that period of time I felt that what I was saying was listened to and respected and heard.
Lately I’ve been having a lot of problems with a co-worker. We have a unique seating arrangement, no one else at work has a setup like we do. We basically sit in each other’s back pocket and can hear and see everything that goes on during the day. Everything. (And I am sorry to say there is no hope for our seating arrangement to change.)
Yeah. With that, and having very different personalities and outlooks on life…. it has led to conflict. While I am far from perfect and have my faults and, well, shall we say – quirks – my co-worker is very self-centric and extremely defensive when talked to about anything that she is doing/saying. Which makes it very hard to gain any understanding or empathy, or to even just have a conversation about a situation that has caused me stress.
My boss finally got fed up with the whole thing and has asked a mediator to mediate between my co-worker and myself. Our employer pays for it and we can take time off from work with pay to meet with her. I have been working full-time in business offices since I was 17 (I’ll give you hint: that was many many years ago. Like, more than 30.) and I have never ever had a situation with a co-worker reach these proportions.
It is affecting my health and prayer life, and certainly my attitude. I am proceeding through the mediation process, with no hope whatsoever that anything will change at work. Our first joint meeting is next week. I’ll keep you posted on how things go.
In the meantime, I am struggling to maintain my prayer life and usual cheerful outlook. All I can do is speak the truth in love, right?
I got married when I was 20 years old and he was 25. Sadly, I was divorced by the time I was 25. Before I got married I had ideas in my mind about what love was, and what being married was like.
The reality was nothing like any of my ideas. Here are some things I have learned about relationships
- Relationships change over time. You don’t establish a relationship then dust your hands together and say “Done! Accomplished!” Relationships are living organisms that need to be fed and nurtured
- Relationships are nothing like what you read about in the romance novels, or what you (mostly) see in movies or on the TV.
- Just because someone asks you to marry them does not mean you have to say “Yes”.
- Just because you think (or even if you feel very very sure) you are in love with someone, it does not mean you have to marry that person.
- Relationships have ebbs and flows, high points and low points. Just because you might be in an ebb or low point does not mean you have to toss the whole relationship.
- Don’t compare yourself to other couples, or hold yourself to others standards. Each relationship is a bit different.
- Communication is key, and you need to find the kind of communication that will work for you as a couple.
Now maybe you knew all that. But I can assure you – I had NO idea of any of this before I got married, or got involved in a long-term relationship. I wish I had had someone to tell me these things. Remember, I got married in the dark ages, before the internet was what it was today.
What about you? What relationship lessons have you learned that you wish you had known ahead of time?
I’m working on a relationship blog post, but until then this has been going through my mind:
(You are my Messiah)
Name above all names
(There is no other name greater)
(Thank you for redeeming me)
(You are always with me)
The rescue for sinners
(I am not lost in my sin)
The ransom from heaven
(You paid the price for me)
Jesus Messiah; Lord of All
(Chorus from “Jesus Messiah” by Chris Tomlin)