We are a few days into the Lenten season and moving quickly toward Holy Week. As we take this time to prepare for Easter, would you be open to sharing how your Lent experiences of prayer, fasting and helping others bring you closer to the Lord?
I’m confident your personal stories will be an encouragement to us all, and we’d love to consider publishing them in upcoming issues of The Alabama Baptist.
When it comes to the fasting aspect, many have shared in past years how giving up social media during Lent renewed their spirits and refreshed their hearts.
Avoiding the negative
Others noted a specific attempt at avoiding the negative people in their lives for self-preservation.
And, of course, eliminating certain foods or a particular meal each day always surfaces as a top choice.
The list of options really is endless, and no matter what you might have already selected, I’d love to suggest three more items for each of us to consider.
What if for these next few weeks we all refused to complain, spew negative commentary about another person or allow ourselves to get overly worked up about any situation which we cannot control?
If we find ourselves starting down the path of any of these actions, we can pull strength from prayer and determine to do something about what has us upset.
Sometimes a situation is so overwhelming we can’t see how anything we do will make a difference, and we spiral downward into a pessimistic outlook.
However, we really can only complain about something so long before we either have to do something about it or let it be.
Otherwise, we end up wearing down everyone around us while making no forward progress.
It’s been quite daunting to hear the number of pastors, ministry leaders, business executives and others share how discouraging the past few years have been for them — primarily because of how many complaints they receive on a weekly basis.
They know they are capable of leading in their specific areas and, in most cases, they have high-quality team members assisting them, but with the continual decline of trust in our culture, many of them end up spending their days countering continual accusations. And many times the accusations are not based in fact, the leaders said.
While we most definitely contend for integrity, truthfulness and accountability related to all of us as individuals, as well as leaders and organizations, it has been interesting to hear how many say they are exhausted and discouraged.
It makes me wonder if we can find a better way to hold our leaders at all levels accountable while also remembering to pray for, encourage and believe in those who are truly seeking to fulfill their calling.
Some issues and decisions definitely deserve to be challenged, and we’ll need to take stands in certain situations.
At the same time, many moments of friction occur over differences of opinion and sometimes because of incorrect information.
How different might a potential confrontation be if we assume the best in people first and seek to fully understand all the facts before launching an allegation?
After all, with our ability and access to study people in positions of power who were or are, by all accounts, truly evil, a little perspective gained during Lent might inject the culture with the dose of Hope and inspiration it needs right now.
Tips for remaining calm amid frustrating situations
- Find a calm, quiet place and turn off or silence any devices.
- Take a deep breath in and let it out slowly (repeat three times).
- Say out loud what has you upset.
- Explain to yourself why it upsets you.
- Spend time in prayer asking God to guide you.
- Ask friends to pray for and with you.
- Decide to either take action or let it be.
- Seek help from professionals as needed.
- Journal about your journey if possible.
- Dive deeper into God’s word.
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