- A relationship
- A job
- Your freedom
- Your life
Standing up for your convictions can be difficult, especially when you’re codependent.
Recently, I wrestled with this very issue. And when I say I wrestled with it, I mean I thought of it during the day and dreamed about it at night.
I had no clue I was walking into a situation that was against my beliefs, but when confronted with it, I wanted out.
The codependent side of me, however, crawled up my arm, propped itself onto my shoulder, inched up to my ear, and whispered its oh-too-familiar lies.
You’ll disappoint everyone.
What will they say?
They won’t talk to you again, they won’t want anything to do with you, they’ll talk behind your back. They’ll say you’re weak.
You think you’re all that—holier than everyone else. You’re nothing. You’re a disappointment—even to yourself.
The enemy sure knows my insecurities! He can prick any of these issues and usually get a reaction out of me.
I knew right from wrong, and I wasn’t afraid to say so—tactfully, of course. I didn’t point fingers. I didn’t judge. I simply said I couldn’t participate, and I said why.
Did my voice waver? Sure it did. Was I nervous? You bet!
But I did it: I stood up for my beliefs.
Their response? Cricket. Cricket. But… it didn’t matter—not then, not now.
I knew who I wanted to please—and I followed through. (Wish I could always say that!)
Am I now trying to get people to think well of me? Or do I want God to think well of me? Am I trying to please people? If I were, I would not be serving Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
For me, it was either please God or please others, not both.
As I think about what happened, I now see seven questions that could help me make the right choice next time. I hope these seven questions help you too.
1. How am I feeling?
When something triggers our convictions, our conscience sends up red flags. Our palms sweat, our heart races, and we feel tingling in our armpits (or is that just me?). If we’re showing physical signs of excitement, we’re already not thinking clearly because our emotions are taking over. That’s when we’re more likely to react and make a rash decision (Mark 6:22). Being aware of our emotions when confronted with a compromising situation helps us to step back before making a wrong decision.
2. How does this issue or situation line up with what I believe?
Although few things in life are black and white, there are absolutes. God’s word is absolute. When we use the Bible to define right and wrong, we’ll know when we face something that goes against our beliefs. Even if the Bible doesn’t address an issue specifically, we can still apply Biblical principles to our decision-making to help us align with God’s definitions of right and wrong. Knowing our boundaries and committing to them ahead of time is essential. Decisions made on the spot tend to miss God’s mark (Matthew 26:69-75).
3. Am I feeling pressured to compromise?
When we’re surrounded by people who disagree with our beliefs—whether in words or actions, it’s tempting to go along with them. Peer pressure does exist, but it’s usually not as obvious as in childhood. (Thank goodness!) Indirect peer pressure is more common among adults. It’s also more subtle. If we’re not careful, our silence can signal acceptance. Remember, appeasing others displeases God (Mark 15:1-15).
4. Am I pressuring myself?
Oftentimes, others don’t pressure us; we pressure ourselves. Although we know right from wrong, we reason that if we follow others, we’ll finally belong. But if we stand up, we risk standing alone. Isolation is scary because God made us for relationship—with Him. When we believe that the Lord our God made us to belong to Him, not to anyone else, we know that even if we stand alone, we are never alone. We have Him. He has us. The pressure we place on ourselves to belong to others ignores the fact that we are already His (Psalm 73:23-26).
5. Who can my decision impact?
When we compromise our beliefs, we’re not the only ones to feel the results. Our families, friends, even fellow believers can suffer because of our hasty decisions (Exodus 34:5-7). Our life will look different after our fateful choice—for better or worse. Our words and actions will either build up others or tear them down. They’ll either spread the hope of God or hinder His work. Our words can give life or death (Proverbs 18:21). Our split-second decisions can confuse or even tempt others to do the same (Romans 14:21; 15:1-2; 1 Corinthians 8:13).
6. Who will I please?
Before receiving Jesus into our lives, we made decisions based on our own judgment or that of others. When we became Christians, we gave Jesus our allegiance (2 Timothy 2:4). When we do what He says is right, instead of what feels right, we please Him (Romans 8:8). We yield ourselves to His desires, His interests, His definitions of right and wrong. Basically, we do what He wants us to do. Even Christ did not please himself; instead, He did whatever pleased the Father (John 8:28-29; Romans 15:3). We follow His example.
7. How can I show God’s love?
Choosing to do what’s right, instead of what’s popular, doesn’t mean we have to be obnoxious, judgmental, or rude. We can make our decision and, if necessary, state our reason, all the while showing the gentleness of our example, Jesus Christ. When we make the right choice but express it in the wrong way, we accomplish the opposite of what God wants—for all to see Jesus through us and be drawn to Him now and for all eternity (Proverbs 12:18; 13:3; Colossians 4:6).
I slept soundly that night. Having a clear conscience has a way of doing that. The truth always sets us free (John 8:32).
Finally, brothers and sisters, we taught you how to live in a way that pleases God. In fact, that is how you are living. In the name of the Lord Jesus we ask and beg you to do it more and more. (1 Thessalonians 4:1)
Come alongside… Have you ever had to stand up for your beliefs? How did it go? If you haven’t had to stand up for your beliefs, what do you think would be most difficult for you? How can you prepare in the event that you will have to do so in the future? Tell us about it below in the box that says, “Leave a Reply.”
Have you ever wanted something so badly but when you got it, you weren’t as satisfied as you thought you would be? The high, the exhilaration, the joy you thought you’d feel turned out to be a downer, blah, anticlimactic.
It could be a…
- Cute dress
We long for so many things, most of which aren’t necessarily wrong. But many times, we become so fixed on them as the thing that will make everything right in our lives–at least, for a little while.
If I had X, then I would be happy.
Something to consider… The cravings we can’t seem to shake? The ones we try to fill with a variety of things? Those aren’t what we truly long for. We might not realize it, but at our very core, we crave Jesus.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. (Psalm 42:1)
We crave the One who created us, the One whom nothing or no one can replace.
All things are tiresome. They are more tiresome than anyone can say. But our eyes never see enough of anything. Our ears never hear enough. (Ecclesiastes 1:8)
A man lived all by himself. He didn’t have any sons or brothers. His hard work never ended. But he wasn’t happy with what he had. “Who am I working so hard for?” he asked. “Why don’t I get the things I enjoy?” That doesn’t have any meaning either. In fact, it’s a very bad deal! (Ecclesiastes 4:8)
You also committed shameful acts with the people of Assyria. Nothing ever seemed to satisfy you. You could never get enough. Then you offered yourself to the people of Babylonia. But that did not satisfy you either. (Ezekiel 16:28-29)
When the lure of earthly things comes up lacking, Jesus promises to satisfy our longings.
Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst – not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.” (John 4:13-14)
Then Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever go hungry. And no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty. (John 6:35)
You will have plenty to eat. It will satisfy you completely. Then you will praise me. I am the LORD your God. (Joel 2:26)
I will always guide you. I will satisfy your needs in a land that is baked by the sun. I will make you stronger. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water. You will be like a spring whose water never runs dry. (Isaiah 58:11)
No one and nothing else can deliver on their promises. Only Jesus. Our Lord knows what we want. When we look for Him above all else, we enjoy the peacefulness of a satisfied life both morning and night (Psalm 90:14).
Today, I invite you: Come to Him and drink (John 7:37). Come and take His gift of life (Revelation 22:17). He gives it freely (Isaiah 55:1).
Come alongside… What have you been craving? What are you hoping will satisfy those cravings? Do you agree or disagree that Jesus is really what we crave? What other verses would you add to this list? Please share with us in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Include your name or comment anonymously.
Several months ago, I wrote the post, “Forgive and forget? Not Really.” In that post, I said I agreed with the “forgive” part of that age-old saying. (If you haven’t read it yet, hop on over to that post and chime in on our discussion.)
I ended that post saying I would address the “and forget” part in the next post. Summer came and went. So did the holidays, and still no follow-up on the post.
I haven’t wanted to talk about the “and forget” part–much less, blog about it. Several things happened after the first post that have challenged me in the forgiveness department. It’s as if God was saying:
“Do you really believe what you say you believe, Daphne?”
With God’s help, lots of tears, and the help of my family, friends, and my recovery group, I’m working through the forgiveness part–and doing well, at least, for today. 😉
Lately, the “and forget” part has come to mind, which, if you ask me, shows progress. Does that mean I should just go ahead and forget about what happened? Should I erase the bad things that have consumed me for the past year? Do I pretend the harmful things that have dominated every waking–and “sleeping”–moment of my life since early summer no longer matter? No.
Forgetting the pain my family and I have gone through would also erase the good that has come from it.
- More conversations about feelings and long-standing issues with low self-worth.
- Healthy boundaries.
- New directions for our family.
- A simple life that treasures even the little things.
- Courage to protect myself and my loved ones.
- Restored relationships with estranged family members.
- Right priorities.
- Tighter family relationships.
- Renewed importance of the fragility of life.
- Better listening skills.
- Learning about each others’ lives–things we didn’t know about each other that we will carry with us for years to come.
- Giving and receiving advice across generations.
Who knew that negative situations could produce such positive change? And this is just a short list of good coming from bad! There were plenty of good things in our lives last year. That’s an entirely different list of God’s blessings. Should I forget it all–2014?
When we “forgive and forget,” we essentially tell God our pain is better left in the past. Nothing good has come from it. I am where I am today by my own merit, not anything God has done.
“Forgive and forget” is an affront to the sovereignty of God who turns evil into good (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28).
Pain is important to forgive. It’s also important to remember.
“Forgive and remember” until you can do so without an inkling of anger, bitterness, or revenge. That, my friend, is healing. “Forgive and remember” speaks hope: Look what God did for me in this situation. He can do the same for you. That’s the power of remembering. That’s the hope you can share with others. “Forgive and forget” lacks hope. It has nothing to offer anyone. Your pain is in vain.
My pain is not in vain. God has brought much good from it–and I know He will continue to do so. This is the hope I offer you: God can bring good from whatever wrong was committed against you or whatever hurtful thing was said about you.
Forgive and remember.
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel!
He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Come alongside… Do you agree that you shouldn’t forget the wrongs committed against you? Why or why not? What have you been trying to forget that you need to remember? Please comment in the box below. Remember, you can comment anonymously.
I haven’t written for several months, and I’ve missed you, but family members have been going through unexpected health issues since this summer. Although we’re still dealing with these things, we hope for a better tomorrow, trusting God knows all and takes care of us all–even when we can’t see Him.
So… as you know from some of my previous holiday-related posts, I have a hard time during this otherwise joyous season. But I’m not the only one. Thousands–actually, millions–of people are depressed and hurting during the holidays for a number of reasons.
This year, I’ve compiled some of my favorite posts and resources from around the Internet about how to deal with anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder, difficult memories, or other mental and emotional concerns during the holidays. You’ll want to bookmark this page for future reference.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has an entire section devoted to the holiday blues, as well as a video and fact sheet on the “Holiday Blues,” including a section on children and holiday anxiety.
- The Huffington Post has two great articles (Part 1) and (Part 2) on how art therapy can help people de-stress during the holidays. I’m definitely trying some of these!
- On LinkedIn, one of my connections posted an article about how Jesus dealt with depression. It’s brief, but he makes great points.
- PsychCentral gives some suggestions for how to help those who are struggling during the holidays, as well as the impact of not getting enough sunlight during this stressful time.
- My friend and fellow author Rachel Wojnarowski wrote this ebook, 12 Days of Christmas for the Hurting. It’s available on Amazon.
- Also, Dr. Wayne Dyer writes about how to recapture the spirit of the holidays, particularly Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s in his book, No More Holiday Blues. It’s an older book (2010), but the information still applies. Dr. Dyer’s book is available on Amazon.
- Finally, The Skit Guys have a humorous take on all the busy-ness during the holidays, which can lead to increased anxiety from Thanksgiving through Christmas.
I know there are more resources out there. Do you have any you would like to add to this list? Share them with us in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Also, if you know someone who struggles with depression during the holidays, please share this post with them.
I hope you remember during this season–and always–that Jesus is close to you when you’re brokenhearted, depressed, and feel like giving up.
If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there. (Psalm 34:18)
Groove: Stories to Refresh the Way We Think and Feel About Our Mental Illnesses
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