Friday, February 1, 2013

Those Fiery Darts

In my last post I spoke about the "meeking" process that we all undergo at some point or another. It's important to note that these fiery darts are aimed at the ego, not the true self. In my posts The Finger of God  and A Firm Foundation for Healing  I wrote about the need for healing of your innermost being, the shucking of negative labels off your back, because these false labels interfere with your mission in life. We need to be able to differentiate between the blows of satan aimed at destroying our true self and the fiery darts allowed by God that are helpful to us in recognizing certain patterns of sin in our lives.

Sometimes, when we are resistant to seeing these sin patterns and the flaws within ourselves God will speak through others. This is so that we'll become aware of the area that God would like us to focus on - an area that He is usually working on also. For example: if a number of friends or family members suggest that your thinking process may be a stumbling block in your life...then it's a very good possibility that this may very well be the case. Or if you have a tendency to overreact and everyone around you seems to point this out quite often then, hey, it's likely they just might be onto something.

Over the years, I've noticed that a big issue of mine seems to be with my thought life. After working on it for many years I thought I was doing a very good job in this area but I was overlooking the more subtle poisonous thoughts that can creep into our minds and go unnoticed by us if we don't stay alert. I bought into the lie that we can't control our thoughts. We may not be able to choose exactly what thoughts go (because we also have to deal with the spiritual realm in this area) into our minds but we can certainly have a choice in deciding what we want to dwell on. We can also be aware of just what we are feeding our minds. The more trash you put in there... the more trash is likely to come out. If you feed it poison, that poison is going to seep out somewhere, some way.

An issue I struggle with is passivity. God has called me on this a number of times, as have others. Some folks are under-reactors not over-reactors. Both these extremes can be problematic but, whereas overreacting is obvious, the effects of underreacting are much more insidious. The problem with passivity is that it can look so good on the surface but it can keep you from taking direct action to solve a problem. To my own mind I considered it "surrendering things to God". Sad, yes. Truth was, I often felt overwhelmed and refused to take the steps necessary to fix a problem. It's something I still battle with. And it bears no resemblance to true surrender. God is an active God.

And I probably never would have noticed if God didn't use many (many, others to point this out over the years. So, though I was not grateful for the correction at first, in the long run it has been very helpful. At least now, I am aware of it and can take measures when I notice it coming into play. I think I've written about this before here (and, my apologies, you'll no doubt see more about this subject because I often see this trait at work in our world and its fruit can be devastating...both to individuals and nations).

Human nature has a tendency to resist correction, especially if it's worded badly. It's much better when it comes from a trusted friend or family member but this isn't always the case. At times it comes from the least expected place, like out of the mouth of your friend's child or maybe a co-worker. The point is: when we hear the same thing over and over it may be a good idea to pay attention to what others are saying.

Without question, there are also times when we should not listen to what others are saying. When an accusation is leveled at the very being of a person we should toss it right out. We need to be able to discern the difference between the two. Telling someone that they are stupid or unlovable attacks the being of the person not the actions of the person.

One tears down a person while the other is aimed at a behavior - this makes it easier to discern between the two.

(You can see the  "meeking" process at work in the combox of blogs at times. Every time I see this at work I can't figure out why the other person isn't "getting" it, especially when it's obvious... and then I remember how long it takes me to "get" it, even when it's obvious to others, and I understand :-)


  1. Oh, this is good Mary. I know I have had some friends in my life, who knew how to give helpful, constructive criticism. I don't feel hurt by what they say. And its good when I take note and think maybe they are right.

  2. Mary,

    "Human nature has a tendency to resist correction, especially if it's worded badly." A year or so ago, a close friend wanted to point something out to me. She wrote a letter and thought she was telling me something I really needed to know in a kind way. The problem though was her words weren't kind at all, even though she felt they were. They cut so deep I felt wounded for a long time. I still can't dwell on this incident otherwise the tears and pain return. This led me to ponder our universal communication problem. None of us are really taught how to communicate effectively as we are growing up. We are all at a loss when it comes to saying the right thing, in the most helpful way. We all cause each other so much hurt, not because we intend to, but because we lack communication skills. I've been thinking about writing a post about this. Maybe I will!

    Thinking a bit more about this... I guess when we are corrected, we need to think about the intention behind a person's words. Did they mean to hurt us, or were they only trying to help, but failed to use the right language.

    Thank you for yet another thought provoking post, Mary.

    God bless!

  3. A lot of good sense in this post. Needs to be read more than once.

    God bless.

  4. Hi Monica,
    I've found this to be true too. If things are worded with love and delivered in the right way they can help us a lot.

  5. There has been so much wisdom in your last several posts that I haven't been able to comment! (?) (I think I'm too busy digesting). But I want you to know that your words are really hitting home.. thank you!

  6. Hi Sue,
    Maybe the words weren't true and your spirit rejected them. People aren't always right and sometimes they can "sugarcoat" some really ugly things.

    I'd be more inclined to wonder if God was trying to get a point across if a bunch of people said the very same thing such as in the case of my passivity. I don't think I would have accepted it if just one or two people mentioned it.

    I agree, our communication skills aren't always what they should be.

    God bless you too!

  7. Hi Victor,
    Thanks - I was hoping I could explain it clearly. God bless you too!

  8. Hi Nancy,
    The only thing I was digesting when this started happening was humble pie. That stuff digests slowly ;)

    Glad you liked the post!

  9. I didn't mean it as a criticism of your writing Mary. I meant - it is important enough to be read more than once.

    God bless you.

  10. Mary,

    "Maybe the words weren't true and your spirit rejected them." Thank you for those words. I think why I feel so much hurt is because I can't believe a close friend would think me capable of such a fault as she accused me of. She failed to see the situation clearly. But I think I should have been far more careful, anticipating that not everyone sees the world like I do. Do you remember us discussing how some people just don't understand our sense of humour? Well, this was one of those cases.

    Mary, I didn't really think you would have had time to answer my comment. I only wrote it a couple of hours ago. But you are so efficient! I think I needed to chat about this issue. It hides deep within me and I am trying to forget but sometimes that is very difficult... (Drop the thought like a stone and move on!) Sorry to go on. I have got rather off the topic of your post.

    God bless and thank you!

  11. Well done. I remember and took to heart my Dad's corrections when he kindly and patiently sat me down and explained what was not Ok in my behavior. That worked much better than all the yelling and smacking of the behind. One was really motivating. I need to practice this more often when I get upset with something my husband does.

  12. we know that the battlefield is in the mind. Satan's playground. Hugs to you my friend....

  13. Mary, are you reading my mind and blogging about it? Because that's my struggle up there passivity versus surrendering to God. Funny thing is: I'm paying attention when you say it but when someone else does, Grrr.

  14. Hi Sue,
    Oh are probably right about that. For some odd reason when I was young I thought others pretty much viewed things similar to how I did - was I ever wrong. People are sensitive and I have to be careful because I am taken the wrong way at times. So I can see how you and your friend could have been on different pages over something.

    As for the humor, I think we are funny but I certainly understand how others could get confused ;) The fact that others don't get to hear the tone of voice we are using or see our expression doesn't help either.

    You should write about it, Sue. It helps us sort through things I think. You wouldn't have to publish it if you chose not to. I would feel hurt if a good friend assumed my intentions were not good without knowing it for sure too.

  15. Hi Barb,
    What a blessing to have a father like that! It's much easier to accept and understand when done in this manner.

  16. Hi Grace,
    That's for sure! It can be frustrating at times too. Hugs to you too :)

  17. Of course I was reading your mind, Anabelle. Where do you think I got the post? Lol.

    Passivity versus surrender can be very confusing at times. Even for mind readers ;)

  18. Hi Victor,
    No, of course you didn't - this never even crossed my mind. I knew what you meant. I should have worded my comment differently because reading it back I can see how it might sound like that was what I was thinking :)

  19. Mary,
    I always learn more about myself when I read your blog. My soul thanks you :)
    God Bless.

  20. Thanks, Michael! God bless you too!

  21. Mary,

    I have to stop and thank you for your very kind words, and for taking the time to understand my very confusing story! Your suggestions are very helpful!

    I had been thinking, "Mary will think me very strange after reading my comment. Perhaps I should go and delete it." But I made myself leave it there (a good exercise in humility), and I am glad I did.

    God bless.

  22. Hi Sue,
    I've read your blog many times so I know you are far from strange and I'm glad you didn't delete your comment :)

    God bless you too!