Working on our Character

I’m starting this post without a title because I need to work out my feelings about it as I write. I promise you though I will have a title by the time I’m finished. šŸ™‚

So, today’s devotional topic is how to find people to be brave with about our dreams. It quotes Proverbs 11:4 and gives us a number of questions to consider. I’m not saying that the advice isn’t godly. Not at all. I’m just saying the advice seems to contradict some things I read and considered earlier. Let’s look at the information first, and then I will give you my thoughts.

First, let me quote Proverbs 11:4. “Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.” Wisdom is certainly a good thing. God wants us to spend time in His Word and in prayer with Him so we can gain wisdom as we walk in this world.

Then, in the devotional, the author asks several questions and adds personal commentary to each one. I’m going to quote the questions because they are good questions to consider. “Who do I trust?” “Who isn’t too invested or emotionally involved in my life?” “Who have I seen exhibit wisdom in their lives?” “Who have I seen repeatedly being trustworthy?” “Who I have seen experience failure?” (100 Days to Brave, Annie F. Downs) Like I said, good questions, especially the last one. It has only been in recent years I’ve learned that people who have experienced failure can often be the best teachers. I know this because I’ve failed at some big things myself.

This is the information that was presented in the devotion. When I read through it the first time, something bothered me though I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I read through it several more times, but that nugget of confusion stayed just out of reach. I didn’t understand why. Like I said, it was good information.

Then, it came to me. It was information that promoted protecting ourselves–find someone to trust, find someone who isn’t emotionally involved in my life, find someone who has repeatedly been trustworthy. Let me say this again. I’mĀ notĀ saying this is a bad thing. You want to tell sensitive information to trustworthy people. You don’t want people to freak out if they don’t like what you have to say. But, I think this can go to an extreme if you’re not careful. What if you can’t find anyone to trust in your faith community so you decide to keep everything about your life private? I would answer that by asking if you’ve truly invested in your faith community. I know it’s tough. It took me a long time to trust anyone again after our trust was betrayed. But, God meant for us to be braveĀ in community. To live our faith lifeĀ inĀ community. For me, that means I need to try, no, I have to try to trust even when every part of my being says not to.

There’s another hard question we need to ask ourselves. What if we’re the person no one ever trusts? I’m not saying this just for the opportunity to hear sensitive information. I’m sayingĀ  we need to consider why people can’t reveal their honest selves to us. Have we truly let God form our character? Are we seeking the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians? Are we living out this faith we say we believe? Yes, we sin, and yes, we are broken, but people should be able to see Jesus in us if we are truly following our Lord and Savior.

So, now, I’ve come to the point where I need to wrap everything up and think of a title for this post. I believe there is a way to truly be brave in community without compromising the suggestions the author gives in today’s devotion. The first way is to get to a point where you don’t care what others think of you, only Jesus. I know, for some of us, this will be a work in progress until we go home to be with Jesus. At least, it will be for me. The second way is to make a true investment in a faith community. The only way we will know people the way God wants us to is to take that risk–to be brave and open our hearts during the good times as well as the bad. And finally, we need to let God work on our character so we can become trustworthy and gentle and loving. In other words, so we can have a heart like His!

God’s blessings on you all today!

 

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