revisiting how to shift the atmosphere

Author’s note: This piece was first shared here on my blog, and has become the number one blog post I have ever written. I believe this is due to the fact many of us feel helpless when we suddenly find ourselves in situations without knowing how to handle them. He often reminds me of the lessons I learned in this post when I succumb to allowing my emotions to lead me instead of His Word. May He continue to direct us as we continue to invite Him in to every moment of our lives.

Be a thermostat & not a thermometer. Change the atmosphere around you with your attitude rather than just reflecting circumstances all day. –Sandi Krakowski

Tired of walking into a live drama?
Feel like you are stuck in a sitcom you can’t escape?
Sick of being a survivor?

If you are ready to take action, there are three ways to change the atmosphere wherever you are:

1. Own your part.

I have finally learned it is okay to get along with everyone. Being respectful, honoring and kind does not mean I agree with other people’s decisions or behavior. It means I choose to make relationship a priority, not agreement.

If I am in a crappy mood, or feeling low, I need to deal with my stuff before I am around other people again. Even if it’s a quick bathroom break to pray, refocus & find peace – make the time to name it, own it & deal with it.

It takes two to make drama. If you are calm, that alone can cool a hot situation down.

2. Shift the atmosphere.

I have learned from experience that we can sometimes pick up on other people’s vibes, even when they haven’t spoken a word. As an intuitive person, this can lead me to wild imaginative scenarios playing out in my mind if I am not careful.

If someone around me is irate, upset, depressed or cranky, I now immediately pause to pray, something like this:

“Holy Spirit, Your Word says You live in me, Your temple. I do not want to partner with anything that is not from You. I ask You to be my Shield right now, and I send this ____________(name what you are sensing) back to the person sending it out there. May Your peace reign in this room, right now. I invite Your Presence, and blessing, in the name of Jesus.”

I will share two examples of how I have seen this work in my life.

My hardworking hubby was really cranky about some last minute work changes to his day, and his displeasure & anger was ringing out loud in our car. I turned my head to the right, muttered a similar prayer to the one I wrote above. Lo & behold, within a minute, my hubby calmed completely down and was at peace again. My hubby & kids asked me later what I had done, so I shared it with them. Our home has been a lot calmer ever since, and we react more appropriately to each other when someone is upset now. God can change the atmosphere when we invite Him into any situation.

There was an irate customer one day who wasn’t being very pleasant with their language at work. I prayed the above first, then slid over to support my coworker on the receiving end of their unpleasantness. The customer immediately calmed down as I spoke back the “clean” version of what I was hearing, and they realized they were being heard. My coworker had become quiet in their shock. Now, this customer only has smiles on their face when they come in that workplace, because God broke off whatever was trying to target my coworker when I invited His presence to shield and go before us.

3. Don’t stay if you sense you need to leave.

You may be in a good head space, and have prayed the above prayer, and still feel a bit off.

This is either God or fear telling you it is time to leave.

Fear isn’t from God, so if you ask God if this impulse is from Him, and you don’t get an answer, you need to deal with this fear. Now.
Ask God to kick it out, and stop giving it a listen. You may need need to make a mental note to revisit this at another time and uproot it, but blocking its ability to speak in the moment is a critical step.

If God is telling you to leave, He is trying to shield you, protect you from something you may not be aware of, but He certainly is. Obey.

If you claim to be His follower, then follow where He is leading, even when you don’t know why.

In those moments when I have obeyed without knowing why, I have to trust He knows better and has good plans for me. I no longer worry if this may offend others. I used to, and realized my overdeveloped desire to please had left me exposed in situations I should have never been in, resulting in avoidable wounds.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 ESV

So to recap, to change a situation:

  • Own your part. It takes two to tango. Take control of yourself by tapping in to his Presence to help you discern what’s going on.
  • Shift the atmosphere by allowing the Spirit to shield you.
  • Follow as He leads. When He says go, move. Every time, even when you don’t know why.

As you seek Him everywhere You go, remember His Presence is with you, always actively ready to guide & help as we tune in.

It’s time to show His reflection, instead of our reaction.

porsche vs beater: when quality matters

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Just passed a Porsche in the parking lot on my way to the bus this morning, which jolted my memory back to part of a talk I heard at Kingdom Bound several years ago.

It’s worth revisiting.

We can tend to end up with people based on attraction, can’t we? And jumping to instant conclusions can lead us to settling for a beater when our heart is meant for a Porsche.

God’s heart is set for our best.
Nothing less.

So why do we jump to settle?

Coz we have to wait, and we tend to think we know better when we let our emotions and attractions lead our decision making.

I am gonna take this message, originally about guys & gals, a step further today, and talk about the others we get into bed with.

When you form a partnership or arrangement with a company, church, employer or partnership, you essentially become linked spiritually. Like a marriage.

And if one of you isn’t healthy, you can both become unwell or one of you ends up the other’s punching bag (verbally, emotionally, spiritually..)

We are to be just as careful who we partner with as we are to be wise about choosing our spouse.

I worked for a great organization as a young adult for several years, My last six months there, a new boss was hired who so overloaded the team with her work that we couldn’t get ours done, and then berated us for being lazy. As good as the organization was, it didn’t protect us or allow for complaints up the chain, so the entire team quit within a year.

No one signs up to be treated like crap by their employer. When I met Him, God made it quite clear to me when I was to leave this job.

Several years later, I was working for another well known company. When I started, the company held well-balanced policies to encourage both customer and employee satisfaction. It was a hard job, but one where we all felt supported and encouraged to be our best.

Fast forward a few years to upper management changes, and a new direction for dealing with employees. Not one of encouragement but fear of reprisal. No longer challenged to reach goals, ordered to hit them or else. And the company I thought I was working for revealed its new dark side. Again, God guided me to part ways.

But the silver lining of that departure allowed for me to be hired by a former client who thought I would be a good fit for his small business, and who serves the Lord with no holds barred.

To the world it was a dumb choice, but to the Lord it was the wise choice.

Now my boss would be the first to say he isn’t perfect. but He is relying on the One who is.

And that can make all the difference.

Another former boss I had was not a believer, but believes in pursuing excellence in every detail at work. He was a great boss, and I only left because there was no room to grow. He still models doing his best every day.

Here’s my point.

What looks like a beater on the outside may have the best qualities under the hood.
And sometimes your Porsche has major problems lurking below the surface.

Before you form a partnership, apply for a job, or ask that person you are interested in out on a date, please ask God for His opinion.

First.

And if need be, ask Him to confirm what you think you are hearing.

The Bible is clear on a few things we tend to overlook at times when we are caught up in our emotions:

Don’t throw your pearls before swine.

Your talents are meant to be used where God wants you to use them best, not the enemy’s slop yard.

Also known as….

Don’t leap before you look.

Instead of immediate action, do the hardest thing for yourself in that moment, and wait…

Seek God.
Listen for His voice.
Wait for confirmation.
Then act accordingly.

If you are being pressured in the moment for an immediate answer, answer NO.

If time is of the essence, God will give you the right answer in the right time…His.

Because we can’t always see what is really going on behind the scenes in corporations, in our churches, in our partnerships…

But He can.

He knows each of our hearts, and knows who is the best fit where. (We are part of His body, after all!)

Anything else is settling for second best.

If you are a hard worker, unintentionally accepting a job from a lazy boss will drive you crazy. And God knows it.

Instead of jumping to take the first job you can because you are scared you won’t have enough. ask the God who provides to ensure you have all you need in the wait for the right position yet to come.

He may want you to start your own business, form a new partnership, or work where you never expected you would.

If He is leading you there. He has equipped you to work there.

Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.

Don’t be a yes man at any cost. Ask God for discernment, and reply as He leads. This has been one of the hardest but most precious lessons He has taught me, as I was headed down the road of people pleaser at my own expense. I now pray and wait before I respond, and can tell you there is much blessing to be found in following instead of reacting.

Be careful with whom you end up aligning yourself.

Where our heart is, our treasure is found.

When you give Him your heart, giftedness and willingness to serve where He wants you, you will reap the rewards He has in store for you.

You might think a particular person would be a great business partner, but God knows they are headed down a dangerous road which will negatively impact your business, and you, if you join forces.

Don’t gloss over the details.

The God who sees each and every wildflower He creates, knows each tear we cry, and hair on our heads? He pays attention to the details.

Become informed about the company you are thinking on working for. Check out their website, look up their financial status. Look at the chatter on their social media & advertising campaigns.

Do the same for the church you are thinking about joining, the organization you are interested in volunteering with, and the person who wants to hire you or go into business with you.

You might be surprised what you may learn. But God isn’t.

Quality matters. You reap what you sow.

God didn’t skimp when He made the world or each of us. He did so to the best of His ability.

We are hardwired to do likewise.

That is why being placed where God wants you to do your best is so important, to all three of the people involved….you, your boss/partner, and God.

You because you are blessed when you do your best for Him.

Your boss/partner will reap the blessings of your best for the business.

God will be blessed because you are using the gifts He gave you where He wants you to, for His glory and Kingdom.

Final Thought:

When we allow God to guide us to the best fit for our skills & gifts, He take us out of the boxing ring of impulsiveness where the enemy has been beating on us, and moves us into the wise open spaces of shelter He has waiting for us. There will be storms ahead, but we will be under the cover of His blessing through our obedience.

God has a place for you in heaven. and a place for you here on earth.

May we ask for His wisdom to see what is under the cover of what we can glimpse in the natural, and never fail to allow Him to safely lead us.

I know this is possible. because He has done it for Moses, David, Paul, Ruth, Rahab and so many more whose history you can read in the Word.

If He can do it for those willing to follow, He will do so for you & I, because He never changes!

Here’s to wise choices led by Wisdom Himself.

clenching too tight?

Today was one of those days where everything seemed to be a major effort, all day long.

It started up an hour earlier than I ended up needing to be up.

At work, one long awaited tech glitch fixed caused another even more frustrating one, eventually freezing three computers and one program, making for very frustrated staff and clients for a brief period.

Every time the phone rang, someone live was at reception needing to be served, or all three phone lines rang at the same time.
And over and over, as many people don’t like to leave voice mails, so they keep calling until you answer.

Not to mention the action emails, a sick staff, laundry or other daily jobs that pile up in a bustling business.

A kid sent home sick, the other studying for the first of four exams, three of which are math.

A post that garbled another post’s link and ended up on the wrong site.

And all day long, God reminded me to let it go. Don’t try to control everything but go along with His flow, and keep letting it go.

With two exceptions of incidents that tried to cross my boundaries, I tried very hard to flow along and not let things stress me out, which for me usually ends up with me taking them personally.

I even had a few cool observations from my quiet times (coz I didn’t have enough time to finish it all at once) which I wouldn’t have seen had I not been depending on Him so much.

I will admit, I was pretty ticked at the scenarios that popped up, and was hoping for a good wallow and stew session. Then God reminded me each time to let it go.

I don’t need to accept another person’s attempt to control me, nor their bad mood.

I had to unclench my fist and let it fall open by praying forgiveness.

Let go of the offense and forgive, instead of going on the defense.

Lift my hands in praise instead of clenching tight to anger.

Today, I found it hard.

But I obeyed, the second time quicker than the first.

And as i did, God revealed something profound in my listening and obedience.

A negative spirit (control, anger, insecurity) will back off if you won’t partner with it. Why? It can’t play out the drama it desires when we refuse to plug in with the part it is trying to assign us. Essentially we steal its thunder as we refuse to let it plunder us.

We need to be diligent to ask God what is really going on, and listen for Holy Spirit’s whisper: what to do, how to do it, what to say and/or what to pray.

By speaking forgiveness out loud, I declare my intention to let God be in control of the situation, not me nor the other party involved.

Every time God reminds me to use my shield, it had been to stand on who He is, and who He has made me…His Chosen Beloved, home of Holy Spirit. Child of the King, given His authority.

By letting go, I let God move into the offensive on my behalf.

I don’t need to take offense, God is keeping track of wrong doings as the Judge.

My part? Focus on sticking close to Him, even closer on the days like today where it felt like everything was rising up against me.

God moves mightily to resolve things when i let them go.

Its by clutching His hands that I am going to make it through any situation that comes my way, not by the works of my hands, nor anything else i may be holding onto.

Its time to open our hands, let go of what we were never meant to hold, and allow God to tightly grip us with His loving embrace and immeasurable grace.

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partner with hurt

We get hurt when we partner with the person or thing that is hurting us.

Simplistic in its truth, but jam packed with implications.

We have a choice to make in that split second after we are hurt.

To agree with the hurt, and plant a seed of harm in our soul and heart, ready to deepen and grown into a negative, unholy crop.

Or refuse to partner/agree with it, and offer immediate grace, mercy and forgiveness. Releasing us both to heal, and grow in freedom.

Sounds easy, but it becomes easier the more you practice it.

Like a doctor, the more experience you have, the more health and wholeness you will ideally give your patients.

Patience, grace, mercy, love, peace.

Just a few of the fruits that grow in our garden when we forgive.

The fruit in the Garden of Eden negatively impacted us because Eve and Adam partnered with the snake/enemy.

Join in with what God calls us to.

Walk in forgiveness, just as Jesus did with and for us.

I can’t say it is easier, because feeling justified to feel hurt and pain is very natural to us all.

The inner freedom to not add any more wounding to the load I already carry that I m trying to unload is priceless.

God knew we need less weight, and offers us a way to have Him carry it.

Take Him up on the offer. Partner with grace, and live in more and more freedom as you do.

Fly high with forgiveness and grace.