Tag Archive for reactions

Advice from Elisabeth Elliot

We all have them. Bad days. Unexpected problems. Things we didn’t sign up for. Things that are totally out of our control.

Maybe it is financial hardship or a loss of a job. Maybe someone who should be doing good to you is doing you harm.

A friend betrays you or a parent hurts you deeply. A child becomes terminally ill. A church member betrays you. A spouse walks out for good.

In all these things our hearts rise up in opposition to the crisis. We wonder if God sees, knows, or even cares.

advice

I love this quote by Elisabeth Elliot who had her life turned upside down by the murder of her husband, missionary Jim Elliot, by the very people he was on mission to help. Speared through by the Auca Indians.

In an instant, her world changed. Her husband was gone and she found herself a widow. Her children were fatherless. She was in a strange land, and she had two choices:

to see God as a loving, wise Father who always does what is best for her  or

to chose the path of bitterness and resentment toward God.

Hear what Elisabeth says:

“Lord, You have assigned my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure’ (Ps16:5). I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become much easier,directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.”

We need the same mindset when things seem all wrong. A life of faith is a life of trust.

The Bible shows us many examples of sisters in Christ who faced hard times and chose to walk in faith, knowing that God would do what was right for them: Sarah, Abigail, Hannah and Mary to name a few. They welcomed and walked the hard path through faith. The surrendered their life to His plans.

  • Sarah packed up her life and followed her husband Abraham to their “new home.”  Problem was,  Abraham had no idea where he was taking her.  Only God knew where that would be.
  • Abigail lived with a drunken fool, but was godly enough to protect her household from King David’s anger at Nabal’s rudeness and insolence.
  • Hannah felt the pain of barrenness. She longed and prayed for children while living under the provoking taunting of her husband’s “other wife” who had no problem having children.
  • Mary  risked her reputation and many misunderstandings when she agreed to be the mother of the Savior, Jesus.

“It is in our acceptance of what is given that God gives Himself.”  ~Elisabeth Elliot, These Strange Ashes: Is God Still in Charge?

When trials come, they open wide the dark corners of our hearts and reveal the true us. Our words and actions show what is really reigning: the “fruit” of the spirit of the “fruit” of the flesh.

The spirit filled life will produce the same works and attitudes of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life is flowing through our life, enabling us to walk as He walked. We will respond to life’s problems with trust and obedience. Our lives and testimonies will be characterized by loving others, joyful countenances, the peace of God, gentleness and kindness to all people.

When sin reigns, we will exhibit the characteristics of the fallen nature: anger, bitterness, unforgiving spirit, desire to rule others, jealousy, envy, manipulation and the list goes on and on.

We are living under the gracious hand of our Heavenly Father. How can we doubt Him? In child-like faith, we accept whatever He chooses to give knowing that though it looks bad and sometimes is hard, it’s for our own good and His glory.

If you are discouraged today and fearful, remember the God who loves you and is in control, and pray for faith to trust Him.

MORE FROM ELISABETH ELLIOT:

Keep a Quiet Heart

A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael

 

 

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Free Resource! “Your Reactions Are Showing” {PDF Download}

Years ago, I bought a helpful pamphlet entitled, “Your Reactions Are Showing.”

At the time I was dealing with some anger issues that I was trying to “kill/mortify” from my life. My children’s behavior “made” me angry—or so I thought. The truth is, I was angry because I had anger in my heart. My children’s behavior was just a pressure that exposed what was already there.

This booklet was so helpful, that when a woman sought advice last week for anger in her own life,  I told her she could borrow it and admitted how helpful it had been to me.  Lo and behold, it’s online free!

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“A cup brimful of sweetness cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, no matter how suddenly jarred.” Elizabeth Elliot

“These kids are driving me crazy! That’s why I snapped!”

“My husband is so inattentive. He’s lucky I stay with him at all.”

My in-laws are such beasts, so I just gave them a piece of my mind” (Or the silent treatment).

We’re all prone to magnify the sins of others and minimize our own sin. But if we are truthful with ourselves, we’ll admit that nobody causes me to sin. I choose it.

Whatever your “pressure” right now,

a stressful job, an unreasonable boss, interpersonal conflict, cranky kids, marriage problems

God is using it to conform you and change you into the image of His Son. Your choices reflect you. Your words reflect your heart, and nobody “made” you do it. Not even Satan. (“The Devil made me do it!”–This phrase always confused me because it denies the truth of free will and choice.)

When we love God most, we’ll desire to do His will. We’ll choose conformity. We’ll surrender our own sinful desires, knowing He’ll do what’s best for us if we obey His Word.

I’m not saying that this is easy. It’s not. It’s hard and humbling, and it drives you to your knees and to the cross. And that’s a good place to be.

An excerpt:

Were a person to watch my actions, he would not really know me. My actions would not reveal to him what I really am, because my actions might be planned and practiced for his benefit. But it is our reactions–our spontaneous, unconscious, unscheduled reactions–that reveal what we really are.

Have we ever been in “hot water”? Have we been in hot water with a husband? Or wife? Or
children? Or relatives? How did we react? How did we respond? Like the dark-brown color that comes from the tea bag, something unchristian shows up in our reactions. We cannot blame someone else for putting that into us. The truth is he or she merely brought out what was dominant in us at that moment.
The hot water did not put the color in the tea bag. It brought the color out. Squeezing a lemon does not make the juice bitter or sour. So this is what our reactions do. They reveal what is already in us.

Be sure to download the free version of Your Reactions Are Showing. It’s a super helpful resource for yourself and your kids.

 

 

Your Heart in Hard Times

We all have them. Bad days. Unexpected problems. Things we didn’t sign up for. Things that are totally out of our control.

Maybe it is financial hardship or a loss of a job. Or maybe someone who should be doing you good is doing you harm. A friend betrays you or a parent  hurts you deeply. Maybe you have a child who is terminally ill. In all these things our hearts  rise up in opposition to the crisis. We wonder if God sees, knows or even cares.

I love this quote by Elisabeth Elliot who had her life turned upside down by the murder of her husband, missionary Jim Elliot, by people he was trying to help. He was trying to befriend the Auca Indians and they killed him. Her husband was gone in an instant. She found herself a widow; her children fatherless. She was in a strange land, and she had two choices. To see God as a loving and wise Father who always  does what is best for her  or to chose the path of bitterness and resentment toward God. Hear what Elisabeth says:

“Lord, You have assigned my portion and my cup, and have made my lot secure’ (Ps16:5). I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become much easier,directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter.”

We need the same mindset when things seem all wrong. We can chose to trust, or we can choose to sin.

The Bible shows us many examples of sisters in Christ who faced hard times and chose to walk in faith, knowing that God would do what was right for them: Sarah, Abigail, Hannah and Mary to name a few. They chose faith and obedience even though things would be hard.

  • Sarah packed up her life and followed her husband Abraham to their “new home.”  Problem was,  Abraham had no idea where he was taking her.  Only God knew where that would be.
  • Abigail lived with a drunken fool, but was godly enough to protect her household from King David’s anger at Nabal’s rudeness and insolence.
  • Hannah felt the pain of barrenness and longed and prayed for children while living with the taunts of  her husband’s “other wife” who had no problem having children.
  • Mary  risked her reputation and many misunderstandings when she agreed to be the mother of the Savior, Jesus.

When trials come, they open wide the dark corners of our hearts and reveal the true us. Our words and actions show what is really reigning.  The “fruit” of the spirit will be evident or the “fruit” of the flesh, aka sin.

The spirit filled life will produce the same works and attitudes of the Lord Jesus Christ. His life is flowing through our life, enabling us to walk as He walked. We will respond to life’s problems with trust and obedience. Our lives and testimonies will be characterized by loving others, joyful countenances, the peace of God, gentleness and kindness to all people.

When sin reigns, we will exhibit the characteristics of the fallen nature: anger, bitterness, unforgiving spirit, desire to rule others, jealousy, envy, manipulation and the list goes on and on.

Our desire has to be for God alone, His glory and our growth in Christlikeness. Then our desire will be an awareness of His control in our lives, glad submission to His good will and a desire to please Him with our actions and reactions.