Category Archives: Conflict Resolution

A Letter to My Teenage Niece on Unhealthy Friendships

A Letter to My Teenage Niece on Unhealthy Friendships

A Letter to My Teenage Niece on Unhealthy Friendships

Why are teen and preteen friendships so hard sometimes? Especially with girls. I know young girls who insist on remaining in unhealthy friendships that aren’t good for them. They stay friends with people who hurt them on a regular basis, over and over. Hey, I’ve BEEN that girl! Sadly, this wasn’t just as a teen either!

I currently know a few young girls who are struggling with healthy boundaries in friendships. My precious niece has given me permission to publish a letter of advice and perspective to her in hopes that others may benefit in their own friendships as well.

Dear sweet niece,

I’m so sorry that you’ve been having a hard time in some of your friendships lately. It breaks my heart to see you get hurt. Sometimes I wish I could let a few of those girls have a piece of my mind. On the other hand, there are times when I want to scream at you too for letting them treat you this way! Then I remember that I’ve been where you stand, even in my adult years. So, I get it.

But why do we continue to endure these harm-inflicting relationships? It’s because we don’t want to be alone. We’d rather be with people who, deep inside, we know aren’t good for us, than to fathom the pangs of loneliness. The problem is…we’re still lonely.

I mentioned a quote in a blog post that I wrote a while back… “There’s only one thing worse than being single and lonely.  It’s being married and lonely.” The quote referenced being married versus being single. However, this can pertain to unhealthy friendships too. Just like marriage doesn’t exempt us from feelings of loneliness, neither do friendships. Booker T. Washington once said, “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” 

I’d like to give you a little bit of advice from my perspective about what I’ve learned and what God has shown me about some unhealthy friendships.

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What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

What to do when you don’t know what to do

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

I recently received a question from a sweet reader on a previous post I had written, How To Use the Correct GPS–God Positioning System. This person felt like they might be on the wrong track and may have made a wrong decision about attending a design school. They were starting to doubt their original decision to attend. The essence of this reader’s question was basically, “What do you do when you don’t know what to do?”

I think that many people could relate to this question. So today I wanted to share my advice to this reader for when you don’t know what to do, in hopes that it may help others too. There are 3 simple steps that I find helpful in any decision-making process, large or small. I’ll jump right into your practical steps…

Take Some Practical Steps When You Don’t Know What To Do:

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Why Christians Get Offended When Jesus Gets Attacked

This past week, I tried to convey to one of my classes why Christians get offended sometimes, at least from my perspective. I wanted to share a little insight about why this might get so heated from a Christian perspective...

Why Christians Get Offended When Jesus Gets Attacked

Recently in my college classes we discussed diversity issues and how they can affect us in college and in life. One of the exercises we do in class is called “Examining Your Own Prejudices”. It involves each student taking an index card and anonymously writing a couple of sentences about a group of people that they have the most difficulty with. I then read each of the cards aloud, and we have a class discussion about them. We talk about where these prejudices come from, how to prevent stereotyping an entire group based on them, how to work with groups with which we have difficulties, and so on.

It’s usually a pretty controversial, yet enlightening exercise. It never fails…in each class I’ve taught there is usually a card mentioning a problem that someone has with Atheists (or non-Christians). There’s also a card or two listing Christians as the problem group. These two types of cards have a tendency to bring on the most discussion, sometimes heated. It’s often because Christians get offended and hurt by some of what’s said.

This past week, I tried to convey to one of my classes why Christians get offended sometimes, at least from my perspective. I wanted to share a little insight about why this might get so heated from a Christian perspective, and why we get so hurt when people speak badly of Jesus. I shared with them a note I had typed into my phone a while back.

Imagine a friend showing up at the worst time of your life

Imagine that you go through the hardest time of your life. You end up meeting this friend, Continue reading

Apologizing Doesn’t Remove All Consequences

Apologizing Doesn’t Remove All Consequences

Apologizing Doesn’t Remove All Consequences

This past weekend my son and daughter were arguing. Surprise. Surprise. Why do kids argue over the stupidest things? My daughter had actually won a prize at church, a giant Pixy Stix. They started arguing over if she would share or not. When she went to put her coat on before we walked out to the car she needed someone to hold her Pixy Stix. She wouldn’t hand it to her brother but to me instead. Apparently he got mad because he was “trying to help her”. I’m sure he had other ulterior motives too. So he spouted off in a hateful tone, “I was just trying to help you! You’re a piece of crap!”

After I picked my jaw up off the floor at the nastiness that just spewed out of his mouth, I quickly informed him that we DO NOT talk like that to people. I also advised him that he would definitely not be getting any of that Pixy Stix now.

When we got to the car I made him do the 4-step apology (or as we call it now, “apologize the right way”). We had some further, lengthy “discussion” about his attitude and the ease with which he flung his verbal assault. After some conversation, the tension ceased. Something else lighthearted created peace between the two siblings again; for the life of me I can’t remember what it was now.

Then, I had that motherly 6th sense as I was driving. My daughter, the forgiving soul that she is, gave her brother some of her Pixy Stix candy.

So hollering behind me…

Me: “Are you eating some of that Pixy Stix?!”

My son: “Yes, she gave me some.”

Me: “I told you NO Pixy Stix.”

My son: “But I apologized and she forgave me.”

Me: “Apologies don’t delete consequences. Just because you said you were sorry doesn’t mean that your punishment disappears. Just because she forgave you doesn’t make the hurt you caused her disappear.”

Then I remembered an exercise that I do with my classes to demonstrate a point. Continue reading

When You Are Wronged, Stay On God’s Side

When You Are Wronged, Stay On God’s Side.  Here are a few steps to do so...

When You Are Wronged, Stay On God’s Side

With the recent events (fatal police shootings, protests and riots) going on in our nation, and even in my hometown of Tulsa, I’ve been pretty disheartened lately. I hurt for the mistreatment of human beings. It’s upsetting to see the blatant disrespect for authority. My heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones. I hurt for those who are making poor choices that will forever change their lives and the lives of their families. It’s discouraging to see those who are blinded by the devil’s lies.

I have felt my heart breaking for all sides. My spirit is heavy that there are even “sides” to begin with. Then, which “side” is right? Maybe both? Maybe neither? I’ve come to the conclusion that there is only ONE right side: God’s side. If we side with God, we will never go wrong.

I was very torn about whether or not I should even write about these current events for fear someone would believe that I’m taking sides. Quite frankly I don’t want to even begin to speculate who was right or who was wrong. From where I stand, I can probably find rights and wrongs on both sides. Nevertheless, I wasn’t there. I wasn’t personally involved. I don’t have all the facts. However, God WAS there. God DOES have all of the facts. We will never go wrong when we look to and lean on Him for guidance and answers. I know it sounds all flowery and pretty and is much easier said than done. Regardless of how difficult though, it’s the right thing to do. So I guess I AM taking a side. I’m taking God’s side.

Personal reflection

As I spent time reading my bible and listening to podcasts over the past week, parts of the story of David kept coming up here and there. I know enough by now to pay attention to repeated themes because more often than not, it’s God speaking to me or trying to get a message across to me. I prayed and asked God if He was trying to tell me something. Nothing came to mind at that moment. So I wrote a note in my journal: “David—repeated theme”.

I continued to spend a lot of time in prayer for and about the recent shootings, protests and riots. I’ve prayed for our leaders, for godly justice to be done, for the families, for wrong mindsets, and for the overall situation in general. Additionally, I even asked God, “How do we fix this? Where do we even start?” Then, I heard in my heart, “Look at David.” My next thought was “Ooooh…THAT’S why David keeps coming up!” After that I thought, “Wait a minute. David? What does David have to do with anything that’s going on in our country right now?”  The answer… Continue reading

Scriptures About Speaking To Others And Knowing What To Say

Here are some scriptures about speaking that will help you with what to say to others.  Use these scriptures as a prayer for help on figuring out the right thing to say or as a positive affirmation that you will say the right things at the right time.

Scriptures About Speaking To Others And Knowing What To Say

Sometimes not knowing what to say to others can be very intimidating. Often we find ourselves in situations where we might have to have a difficult conversation or confrontation. Occasionally, we might even have to defend ourselves from time to time. Some situations are less serious, and we just need some wisdom or guidance on saying the right thing or clearly communicating a message. Fortunately, I have found some scriptures about speaking that I like to turn into a prayer request depending on my need at the time.

Personally, I’ve spent a significant amount of time in prayer using these scriptures about speaking to ask for God’s help to say the right thing at the right time. They also help me to ask for help to clearly explain something. Actually, I pray many of these verses before I write a blog post as well because I truly want my posts to be God-led, clearly explained and contain information that will help anyone who reads them. I also use these scriptures before a difficult conversation or confrontation when I know I’ll need to tread lightly and when the right words are so important. I even use them to help me discern when to keep my mouth shut! Lastly, I always want the words that come out of my mouth to only mirror what God would say.

I’d like to share some of my go-to scriptures for speaking that I use when I’m in these types of situations. Some I have found on my own with research on the topic. Others have been shared with me by close friends when I’ve reached out for prayer. My hope and prayer is that you might find a few go-to verses for yourself that help you know what to say when you are at a loss for words or need a little help. 

Scriptures about speaking the right words and having the right timing: Continue reading

Prayer for When You’re Verbally Attacked

Prayer for When You’re Verbally Attacked

Prayer for When You’re Verbally Attacked

Do you ever just feel attacked?  Sometimes it can seem relentless!  I think it’s high time that we just get fed up with being attacked and start doing something about it!  Recently I wrote a post for scriptures to help when you feel attacked or persecuted.  These scriptures are helpful and comforting to let us know that we’re not alone, that God is our avenger, and that we will be blessed and graced when enduring persecution.  Today I’d like to go on the offensive a little more.  I’d like to give you a prayer that you can pray when you feel like you’re being verbally attacked by people. 

 

I do believe there is a time and a place to endure attacks, but I also firmly believe that God never intended for us to be doormats to be walked on by people.  When we’re being verbally attacked, there ARE times when it’s okay to fight back…just not always in the way your natural instincts might want to! 😉  It’s okay to go to war.  We don’t have to hide until Jesus comes.  We don’t have to be wimpy, spineless, victimized Christians!  We don’t always need to head for cover when we’re verbally attacked by people.

We need to be fighters!

We need to be warriors!

We need to be strong and put on the full armor of God to stand up to the devil and his schemes and strategies!

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

During a bible study in college, Continue reading

Adults Can Be Bullies Too

Adults Can Be Bullies Too

Adults Can Be Bullies Too

I’m going to tell on myself this week. 🙂 I had a lesson in dealing with adult bullies and therefore had the opportunity to show my kids a real-life example of how to deal with bullies.  We’ve talked recently about responding to people who offend you and scriptures to help when you feel attacked or persecuted.  Sometimes the best way to respond is not to respond.  However, there are times when a response is helpful and/or necessary.  I felt like I encountered one of those times this past week.

I had an altercation in the parking lot at my son’s school this past week, but it didn’t start there.  To give you some background, there has been a lady that has caused a variety of problems all school year.  In my opinion, she is an adult bully.  I had never talked to her (and honestly didn’t even know her) up until this point.  We see her almost every morning at school drop-off, and we always notice her.

There are a few reasons she stands out.  One reason is that every morning she has a dog that sits in the front seat of the car and barks incessantly with an ear-piercing sound with its head sticking out of the open window.  We can actually hear it while we are driving down the road, even though our windows are up!  She’s also very noticeable because she has driven pretty erratically on occasion—or as my kids would say, “She’s a crazy driver!”  Frequently, she does not follow the school’s drop-off procedure to only drop your kids off at a certain, designated location (so as not to block traffic).  Each morning she instead ignores this sometimes inconvenient procedure, and she drops her kids off at the front door which holds up and blocks traffic behind her prohibiting anyone else from being able to pull in to drop their kids off until she moves out of the way.

Last, but not least, she stands out because she has been known on SEVERAL occasions to honk at drivers in front of her, myself included.  There is a particular route to school that has an intersection where it is extremely difficult to make a left-hand turn during the busy morning traffic.  If she has to wait too long at that intersection she starts honking.  Last week was no different.  I was at the intersection attempting to turn left.  She was in the car directly behind me (I knew because I heard the barking dog!).  Due to the high volume of traffic, I was having a difficult time turning left.

One thing you should also know about me is that I’m a “better safe than sorry” kind of person when driving, especially if I have my kids in the car.  I know this probably irritates some people because I don’t get in a hurry—to me it’s not worth the risk.  I guess to this lady it is worth the risk, because she started honking in a series of small honks at first.  She also kept moving forward acting as if she would hit me with her car if I didn’t hurry up and go.  Then, she proceeded to lay on the horn with a nonstop blast when I refused to rush in front of an oncoming school bus that had briefly stopped at a railroad crossing.  I was getting a bit flustered at this point.  I rolled my window down and waived my hand backward as if to say “stop it!”, and I pulled out after the school bus had passed.  I shook my index finger out the window as I drove on.  You know…kind of a “shame on you” type of move.

I decided right then that I was not going to put up with her bullying any more.  Continue reading