Psalm 37:39, 40 – The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in times of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.
Loser. Annoying. Cry baby. Not worth the time. Words that can cut to the bone. Though it hurts immensely when someone speaks cruelly to your face, it may be that all the while they are hiding a hurtful monster inside because of their past. How you are spoken to as a child can remain buried inside. It may be that the one hurting you is just trying to make themselves feel better and it has nothing to do with you. How do we escape feeling so deeply bruised inside, and try to understand what is really going on? Remember that though God cares for us, he also cares for the verbally abusive person. I’m not saying that we’re to become someone else’s punching bag. This takes wisdom and discernment. Something you may not have when you are the person being hurt. Ask God to show you what you can say to stop the abuse, but leave the door open to show compassion to the life of another.
Psalm 17:8 - Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.
If you don’t like who you are here’s something that may help: Try to paint a picture in your mind of the person you would like to be. Do you feel weak? Perhaps you can paint some strength onto your canvas. Do you feel like a failure? Perhaps you can paint some reminders of when you’ve succeeded. Do you feel anxious all of the time? Perhaps you can paint some peace onto your canvas. Go gently. Don’t expect change overnight. Take one step and then the next. When you put your foot in the right direction day after day, you will eventually figure out, with God’s help, the picture of how he sees you. Pick up his paintbrush and see light begin to dawn on the canvas in your mind and begin to do so out in the world. It can change the way you see yourself thus helping you become the person you’d like to be.
Zechariah 7:9 - This is what the LORD Almighty said: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.”
With a chronic health condition, many times people can see our pain just by looking at us. Whether it be walking with a cane or clutching our belly, the pain is visible. With emotional pain sometimes you can tell when someone is hurting, but for the most part, emotional pain and loss are the “invisible” pains. Yet, even though it can’t be seen, often emotional pain hurts just as much, if not even more than physical pain. This calls for us to turn up the dial on our sensitivity to people who are suffering. Pay attention to cues that point towards depression, such as staying home all of the time or downcast eyes. Notice a person who may be talking or moving faster than they normally do as this can point to high anxiety. All emotional pain needs to be seen not as just someone who is “acting out” but one who is looking for someone, anyone, who will try to understand them. You don’t have to be prepared for what you would say the next time you sense someone’s emotional pain. They’ll point the way for us to show compassion. Don’t let the moment slip by when you sense the pain, God can give you the words, and actions you need to take to help the hurting make it through another day. Don’t give up on them. Choose to take the first step toward them. God will do the rest.
Hosea 13:5 - I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat.
Now that it’s summer with scorching temperatures and high winds, wildfires can ignite quickly and threaten homes and businesses. But wildfires don’t just happen on yellowed hills of weeds; the fire can break out in our bodies. When I’m in the middle of a flare-up sometimes there isn’t any way to cool the flames upon me. It is then that I feel like I have nothing left. No place to call home. No place to hear the wind blowing through the trees. When I can’t seem to find comfort I run to the one who comforts me. Do you find strength in reading your Bible and crying out to God for help? For me it’s not the last thing I do, but the first. God can give us the wisdom to find a way to put out the fire of our flare-up, but sometimes it doesn’t happen and we feel like we can’t even trust God. It is then that we must trust him. We must believe in him, and that he can lift us up upon his shoulders and carry us out of the reach of the flames.
Titus 2:3 - Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.
Have you recently had trouble with mice or rats in your cupboards? You go to the hardware store and buy a couple of traps. You place some cheese or peanut butter on the trap, set it and leave it under your cupboards waiting until the trap snaps and captures a mouse. Do you know that complaining can become a trap? We start out by placing something on the trap that’s made of gossip or envy. Then we put the trap out in front of us waiting for someone to take the bait and become trapped. It’s easy – all you have to do is complain a little. Put someone down. Stir up a little anger. That’s when the trap is sprung hurting those around us and trapping them. Let’s back up and not even set the trap up. Find ways to compliment those around you. Give them encouragement. Find something good to pass on instead of getting trapped in the vicious cycle of complaining. God wants each of us to think of others before ourselves. We weren’t meant to be complainers but to show the world the beauty of finding the good in others.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.