Don’t get offended.

“I mean this in love and in no way intend this to come across as negative or critical, but…”

Ever have someone start out a conversation this way? Not the easiest statement to hear someone else say to us. Well, don’t feel too bad, it’s only natural to put up an emotional wall, or get verbally defensive when someone we know well confronts us with an issue.

Whether they say it in love or not, or whether it is even well-intended or meant to hurt us, I think we can learn to glean value from any kind of confrontation, rebuke, even attack.

Granted, some verbal attacks are purely worthless and should be discarded immediately. In fact, I sometimes think the reason many of us get defensive when spoken to this way is actually because of a lack of GOOD DEFENSE.

Now hear me, I am not saying that it is good to “get defensive”… not at all. What I propose to you is this: If we have built healthy boundaries (read any book from the amazing series BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend) in our Circle of Relationships (ask ME for a copy of this helpful tool ), we won’t have to “get defensive” when bombarded, attacked, or lovingly addressed in a proper way.

You see, if you have built healthy DEFENSES ahead of time, you don’t need to GET DEFENSIVE at the spur of the moment!

You can listen to that person, chew any meat they may have given, and spit out the bones. And if someone gives you ALL BONES, well then you can spit the entire mess out and get a good breath mint later!

Jesus didn’t need to get defensive when verbally attacked by his critics, because he already had healthy defenses built before hand.

Some of these defenses relate more to a healthy view of ourselves and a confidence of who God is in us and the fact that if He is for us, we have nothing to fear.

In fact, if you find yourself getting defensive often, that indicates you probably have not built good DEFENSES up in your inner man. And in fact, you may find inside your soul many conflicting sources pulling and pushing you to really fly off the handle emotionally, psychologically, physically.

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Now I would be a hypocrite to make it sound like I am such a well-adjusted human being that I have never, ever become defensive. The exact opposite scenario is closer to the truth. You see, I found so many unhealthy emotional triggers inside of me when I first started my spiritual journey – I was one of the most defensive people on the planet. I discovered part of the reason had to do with being a very caring person – I was sensitive. But sensitivity without a healthy defense system on the inside will produce a lot of pain. I had to “toughen up” as others say.

But truthfully, it had nothing to do with getting tougher, but with getting fortified with a good set of boundaries and inner foundational truths. It took years and still I am growing in that area even to this day.

I wish I could go into greater detail with this, but if I did, this would not be a blog entry, but a book. And for more detail, you are going to have to wait for THE BOOK – “The Life” ha ha.

So all I can tell you is this – you and I need our source to be God inside of us in order to build healthy defenses on the outside. Then and only then, when the time comes for someone to “share a personal word” with us, we won’t get defensive anymore, but instead, with peace and calmness we can gently listen to the person(s) and filter the information properly with a smile, and even say, “Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I will take it into consideration. Have a great day!”

Sounds easy, of course it is not. But with His Life inside of us, it is more than POSSIBLE!

Until next time,

Jeff Saxton

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Risk

Ever been to Vegas?

I have. I don’t gamble. I really don’t like casinos. The entire scene is a tad bit off-putting for me. I like some of the cheap food and the amazing shows. I wouldn’t say my dislike for Vegas has anything to do with strong moral objections. I mean, in every city in the world there are places that most folks would find morally objectionable. On the other hand, we are living in this world and sometimes we find our calling right in the midst of a sinful environment. Jesus expects us to learn how to live a pure and ethically clean life while simultaneously reaching out and being a light to a dark world.

Kind of a tricky deal.

Vegas has taught many people lessons about risk. Yet when you think about it, choices we make every day have an element of risk. When we vote, send our kids to school, apply for a job, join a church, shop for a new or used car, or purchase a home, we are putting ourselves in a position of risk. Life involves risk taking. Even simple things like drivng our car to work involve a certain amount of risk.

When it comes to our faith, we may face choices that involve risking our comfort, reputation or even friendships. Although I greatly dislike being put in a vulnerable position, I also realize that great success cannot occur without stepping out into the unknown. When Jesus told Peter to walk on the water with him, Peter was afraid. I guess I am more like Peter than I want to admit. At least Peter took that first step or two and walked for a few moments.

Maybe it’s time to walk across the neighbor’s pool.

Baby steps.

Perfect!

Yep, that’s me! Mr. perfect!

Ha – not at all. If you know me, you know… KNOW that I am not perfect.

However, sometimes people accuse me of being a perfectionist. I find there is a slight difference between doing an excellent job and being a perfectionist. I’m truly just trying to do an excellent job. But maybe I’m fooling myself. Okay, so sometimes I do step over the line!

Watching the Olympics, of course many of the gymnastic contests involve trying to get that perfect 10. Others simply have to beat out everyone else, or score one more goal than the other teams. But for some Olympians, they must shoot for the Gold by being PERFECT!

Wow. What a feat to shoot for!

Well it may be possible in some sports, but when it comes to our walk with God, other issues rear their ugly heads. Oh, we can try to live that perfect life of righteousness.

But sooner or later your own abilities and strengths have their obvious limitations. No matter which way you look at it, we all end up being inadequate.

Funny, God really never asks us to be perfectionists. (He does want us to give our best for Him.)

But he DID say we must BE perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

Oh, that’s comforting!

Being perfect is of course impossible in ourselves. In fact, obeying the Law – even the Ten Commandments, is actually impossible to fulfill in all of it’s implications. Truly, it is supposed to be that way.

Christ in us obeys the law. We don’t fully. We cannot completely. So Jesus needs to come inside and obey for us. In reality, their is only one capable of being perfect. Our job is to allow that ONE to live in us so that he can be perfect in us. (Colossians 1:27)

Sounds easy. The hard work is in giving up, handing over and submitting to.

Are you trying to be perfect? Give up. Give in. Submit to God. And let God fulfill the law in you!

Have a great day, fellow imperfect ones!