Have you ever heard of a God wink? I first heard it from one of my favorite authors in the world, Mark Batterson. He explains that it is basically when something happens here on earth and you know it is from God – that God sent whatever it is just for you. God winks at you. I have been fortunate enough to experience many of these in my life & I don’t know if that is because God loves me so much or if it is simply because He knows I always need real clear signs. I am a burning bush kinda girl so I don’t need any subtle moves or passive agressive signs, I need clarity. Thank you Jesus, for speaking plainly to me most of the time:)
Here is my most recent example:
Last Saturday evening I wrote a raw, vulnerable post and it seemed to resonate with a ton of people as it has been my most well received blog to date. (If you have not read it then go do that so the rest of this post makes sense:)) It was a spur of the moment kind of post in that I had not planned to start writing at 12:30 am but the subject matter had been stirring in my heart for quite some time. After praying, reading, reflecting, and blogging, I pulled out my journal. Last Saturday was October 13th and my last entry had been written on October 2nd.
My 10/2 entry was notes from a recent sermon I heard from Chris Hodges, Pastor of Church of the Highlands in Birmingham. These are my exact notes:
“Read James. It is the most practical book in the bible” and right underneath were these words:
How to deal with difficult people:
- Overlook the offense in them.
- Pray for them.
- Forgive them.
- Bless them in Jesus’ name.
- Do good to them.
Matthew 10:8 “Freely you have received, so freely you should give”
BOOM. I legit did not need to journal after reading that! I needed a sign and God gave it right to me. I literally just drew an arrow on the next page pointing to those notes with the date cause what else was there to talk about? Blown away by the constant goodness and kindness of our God.
Then, I went to church Sunday morning and the Pastor was planning to start a new message series but instead he said the Lord told him to hang out in the book of James a little longer! So, he preached from James. OMG, okay, got it Lord, I will start reading James and see what you have for me. I could google “James bible studies” and get approximately 64,700,000 results (seriously – do it and you will get those results too) but I sensed that the Lord was telling me to stay in this raw place and go straight to His word instad of buying a book about His word. We overcompliacte things sometimes when all we really need is right in front of us.
So, I have committed to reading through James over the next few days. I started Tuesday and just plan to read a chapter a day – there are only 5 chapters so it won’t take long to get through this book. If you would like to join me, I would love for you to read along and comment here or message me privately about what God is teaching you as you read through James.
I have also committed to following the list above from Pastor Chris’s sermon. Reading James is pretty easy but actually DOING the items he suggests above is HARD. I have never been one to hold grudges so #1 is not too hard for me, #2 is a little iffy, #3 is a process but #4 and #5 are a whole notha’ level! The first time I did it, it hurt me to speak the names & then to think of going far enough to bless and do good to them?!?! That is not a natural response but that is precisely why we do it, because to live in the natural world and be a Jesus follower is to respond to the world not naturally but supernaturally through what Jesus does in is. It is not in our power but in His that we are able to respond appropriately to difficult people or tough situations.
I trust that God is going to do a work in me through this study and this daily exercise of those five things. And really, I can only ever be concerned about wht He does in me. I can’t do the work in others, only God can do that so all I can do is keep showing up being the best version of me that I can be. We teach the same thing to our kids. Since they have been old enough to understand we have always told them that they have very little control over most things in this world but the one thing they are ALWAYS in control of is their attitude. We always get to choose how we respond & react to situations. Make a wise choice.
Maybe you are feeling a little spunky and want to go on this journey with me and if so, I’d love to have you reading along and practicing some of these things along with me. It won’t change our situations or the people in our lives but it will change how we respond to them. We are called to be doers of the world and not just hearers so let’s do what we can!
(P.S. – thank you for reading along and if you have not subscribed yet, please do. I have committed to writing 3 times per week – sometimes it will be working on my book but I plan to have at least one new blog post each week. Fingers crossed!)
Love & Blessings!