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Peace

7 Questions for When You Want to Stand Up for Your Beliefs

 
7QuestionsHi, friends!
 
Ever have to stand up for what you believe, knowing it might cost you something?
 

  • 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.
 
Not this time.
 
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.”
 
 

Book Review: Still Looking by Vicki Huffman

Still_Looking_Book_Review_img

Click to Purchase on Amazon. (Note: This is an affiliate link.)

 
When I first submitted my family’s unemployment story to Vicki Huffman, I offered to write a review of her book once it was completed. Only God knew the reason and the season in which I would need to read the inspirational words in Still Looking: Finding the Peace of God in Job Loss.
 
 
When I received Vicki’s book to review several months later, my husband had been once again laid off for no fault of his own. Already, four weeks had passed since the day he showed up for work at his industrial construction job on a Monday morning and everyone had been let go. We were just starting to go through the familiar emotional, practical, and even spiritual fallouts of losing a job when I received the book. As I read through her family’s struggles with job loss—eight in all, I kept tapping the pages of my electronic book reader, saying:
 

“Yes! That’s exactly how I feel. That’s exactly how my husband is responding.”


 
 
Vicki was able to tap into those feelings not only from her own family’s experiences but also by citing renowned psychologists, experts, and everyday people who had the dubious honor of being unemployed at one time or another. She compared unemployment and job loss to the stages of grief and how those who are unemployed—for whatever reason—face similar feelings as those who have experienced loss of any kind—health death, divorce, to name a few. Vicki walks readers through the stages of grief, helping them to see the connections with job loss and how they eventually can move forward with the help of God.
 
 
As I read Still Looking, I began to see stages of grief in my own life—but for different reasons. Last year, I resigned from my corporate job at a Fortune 500 company to become a stay-at-home mom of our three children whom we adopted. Although a joyous occasion for my husband and me—and for our children, I felt the loss of fellowship with coworkers, usefulness and productivity that come from completing projects, and the accolades that accompany great work. I was able to see and work through these issues by reading Vicki’s book. She also helped me to understand the pros and cons of women working outside or inside the home, depending on their circumstances.
 
 

In addition to the emotional issues accompanying unemployment, Vicki offered practical and spiritual insight for times of job loss. She gave tips on how spouses can help and affirm each other during unemployment. As I re-read our own stories that we submitted to Vicki, it reminded me of the many ways my husband and I have supported each other during these times and how we can continue to do so.
 
 
Still Looking is filled with practical and spiritual insight on how to spend time during job loss, as well as other considerations that accompany unemployment, such as the possibilities of relocating and self-employment. Vicki also offers a unique perspective for those who are older and find themselves unemployed.
 
 
I especially liked the “P.S.—Post Job Script” sections that summarized each chapter and provided practical tips on how to move forward in recovery from unemployment. The “Peace to You” sections encouraged me with biblical passages and reminders of the peace of God when money is tight.
 
 
Oftentimes, books on difficult subjects tend to provide trite answers. Not so with Still Looking. It is fresh and original; Vicki Huffman has been there and she gets it.
 
 
From beginning to end, Vicki shows the joys of growing closer to God during times of financial strain. She is a great example of finding true peace during unemployment.
 
 
If I had one critique, it would be this: I would have liked for the book to include a set of study questions, whether at the end of each chapter or at the end of the book. That way, readers could work through the issues in each chapter more readily.
 
 
Regardless, I highly recommend Vicki Huffman’s Still Looking: Finding the Peace of God in Job Loss. It is a great tool to help readers through the valleys of unemployment—not once, but as in our case, several times. Still Looking is ideal for anyone who has a job and feels like it may be time to move on to another job or season in life, or they sense that unemployment might be imminent. It is a great resource for Bible study groups; readers can use it by themselves, with a mentor or counselor, or in a small group format. People in recovery groups also could benefit from it. The book also would be a great gift for someone working through issues of financial struggle.
 
 
Still Looking: Finding the Peace of God in Job Loss is available on Amazon (affiliate link).
 
 
Be blessed!
 
 
Come alongside… Have you experienced job loss? How have you dealt with it? Share in the comments below.
 
 

My Drastic Estate

 

I love estate sales! I’ve been to two in the past month.

 

Intrigue and wonder fill me as I walk through rooms piecing together people’s lives from what they owned.

 

  • Clothes.
  • Cookware.
  • Tools.
  • Home Décor.
  • Movies and books.

 

Yes, movies and books.

 

You can tell a lot about someone by what they read, watch, and listen to. Even more, you can tell what will eventually be in someone’s heart by the movies, books, and music they own.

 

Become ITWhen I was younger, I read ultra-feminist-type books and magazines for teenage girls, listened to all sorts of music, and watched what could be considered “disturbing” movies. I was fascinated by it all—until I started seeing some of those same thoughts, tendencies, attitudes, and actions in myself. I didn’t know it at the time, but eventually I transformed into a woman who would not let any man tell her what to do, who had a filthy mouth, who couldn’t stop lyrics from playing in her mind—even in her sleep. As I woke up one morning, the first thing that came out of my mouth was “Danger! Get on the floor!”—lyrics from gangsta rap artist Mystikal.

 

 

Seriously—can you see me listening to gangsta rap?

 

 

Anyway… My movies, books, and music even went so far to include pornography.

 

I had years of deep-seated issues. When I finally set out to identify how I came to be that woman, I realized my movies, books, and music choices were a primary contributor to the person I had become. I had to make some serious changes to try to undo all those years of unhealthy programming in my mind and in my heart.

 

My choices were drastic to some, but I had to do it for myself. For years, I listened only to instrumental music—no lyrics, watched movies that had no objectionable material—and if they did, I would turn them off. I threw out books and magazines with immoral and suggestive content. I set similar limits on my online surfing.

 

Today, I listen to music with lyrics again, but I’m still very careful with its content. I’m still very strict with my books, magazines, and computer content. And movies—it’s strange to me that movies I enjoyed years ago—and knew inside out—now don’t pass my test.

 

Listen to what the Bible says:

 

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. (Philippians 4:8)

 

 

I try to ask myself:

 

  • Is my music gracious and beautiful?
  • Are my movies pure, honorable, and respectable?
  • Are my books and magazines praiseworthy?
  • Is my favorite Internet content moral?

 

Even more, do I see glimpses of myself in any of my books, movies, music, and Internet content?

 

The Bible says:

 

Don’t live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

 

Put another way:

 

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. (Romans 12:2)

 

 

His ways are good and pleasing and perfect, dear one. He grants us peace when we allow Him to renew our minds and restore our hearts.

 

You will keep in perfect peace all … whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3)

 

He can change the way we think. He can undo our drastic estate.

 

The first step is up to us.

 

 

Come alongside… What kinds of movies, books, magazines, music, and Internet content are you welcoming into your mind and heart? Who are you becoming? Will you allow God to transform and renew your mind? He can!

 

Decisions, Decisions…

Have you ever had a decision you knew you needed to make but you kept putting it off?

 

I’ve been there for awhile now. And by awhile, I mean a little over three months.

 
Decisions
In that time, I’ve struggled with fear, uncertainty, irritability, and routine insomnia. Just a heavy spirit overall–I haven’t been able to get away from it.

 

I know what God wants me to do, and I want to obey Him, but I haven’t been sure of the outcome. Am I supposed to be? Is it even considered faith if I insist on having things in perfect order before I obey? Sure, there’s something to be said about preparation before making a big decision, but are circumstances ever perfect to obey?

 

Last week, I vowed to obey. No more putting it off. After all, delayed obedience would still be disobedience.

 

So I did it. I really did! Took one deep breath and just let it out: “I’ve decided to retire and be a stay-at-home mom.” Phew! Did I just say that?!?!

 

Although I was nervous about how that conversation would go with my manager, it actually went very well. In fact, he even asked me if I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

 

“Yes!”

 

Obedience is scary, isn’t it? It tests us (Deuteronomy 13:3-4).

 

He promises to protect us when we obey Him, dear one (Psalm 5:12). We may not know what lies on the other side of obedience, but neither did Abraham when he left his home town to the land that God would show him (Hebrews 11:8). When we make that decision to obey Him no matter what, He declares us “right” with Him–and there’s no other place I would rather be (Romans 2:13). We need not fear if we know He is leading us. He will give us His favor (Deuteronomy 6:3). Even more, He will grant us peace and set us free (James 1:25).

 

Decisions, decisions… Which one are you putting off?

 

Come alongside…What about you? Have you had to make a tough decision lately? Are you still trying to muster up the courage to do so? What can you do today to move you in that direction?

 


 

Decision-Making Resources

 
 

 

Two Articles Published: “Serenity, Please” and “If I Text Him, He Will Answer…Won’t He?”

 
I am honored to have two articles published.

 

 

“Serenity, Please” at Mentoring Moments for Christian Women

 

 

“If I Text Him, He Will Answer…Won’t He?” at Inspired Women Magazine

 

 

I hope you will read, comment, and share.

 

Big hugs,

Daphne

Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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