This is Chapter 7 of Discovering Joy, my devotion-style diary during the coronavirus self-isolation, which I am posting chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad. Enjoy!
"I am banning myself from Facebook for the rest of the day," I announced to my husband Paul. "I've just seen way too much negativity today."
Being pregnant has made my emotions so much more "extra," so things that normally I'd be able to shake my head at and then ignore, I now find infuriating or irrationally devastating. I've found myself typing out paragraphs of responses to various posts on Facebook, only to pause, re-read what I have written, and recognize that my brilliant riposte is not going to solve anything ultimately. Highlight. Delete. Of course, I think of myself as one of the few sane ones in a sea of irrational adults. But every other adult in this mess thinks the exact same thing, so who am I to claim that I'm different?
Recently, a friend and I were reading through a book entitled Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges, and we were both struck by the same passage. I don't have the book right in front of me, or I would quote it for you, but here's the basic idea:
When I sin and then repent of it, God does not put me in some different category in which I must serve a penance before I can be fit for His work. When I am righteous, that does not entitle me to greater blessings nor make me necessarily more "fit" for God's work.
Let me explain.
Having written about how to confront someone lovingly, I feel it is important to add a postscript to the discussion, and that is: It is not our job to change the other person. It's simply our job to communicate with the other person. Change is up to God.
Over and over, I see people (particularly women) reinterpret the idea of lovingly confronting someone into subtly manipulating someone to change. Let me explain how this works, and why it can be a relationship-killer.
Some time ago, my pastor asked this question in one of his sermons: “How would you live if you knew—without a shadow of a doubt—that you are forgiven?”
That question struck me as a challenge. What would the life lived in the full knowledge of forgiveness look like?
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.