Do you have someone in your life whose actions or attitude you’d like to change? Because, oh boy, the way they’re behaving and the things they are saying are so annoying.
The reality is, it’s hard to change people. We can try. We can think we have the ability to modify their behavior or how they respond. We can give advice and make suggestions. But, our efforts are often in vain.
I’ve learned this lesson recently. I tried my best to turn an abnormal relationship into a normal one. I laid awake at night in frustration and fighting fury. “If only I could get her to do…” I pondered, “everything would be so much easier.” Or, “if only she were like…” — the person who’s so easy to work with. And, “if I don’t succeed, she’ll carry on walking all over me.”
Then I realized all my effort to change this person was not going to happen.
The realization came through a friend. “You can’t change her,” she said, repeatedly on a phone call. She also assured me I was not alone in my angst.
Suddenly, I felt free. Those words released me from what I thought was my responsibility. But, only when I understood another fact.
So, if you’re in a similar situation, how do you move forward?
1.Take a deep breath and relax. Sounds easier said than done, but you can go with the flow when you realize God’s got the situation in control.
2. Fight back with love. Okay, this is hard to do. My reaction is to give as good as I get. Yet, we’re told: If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
3. Ask God to give you what you need from this list: gentleness, self-control, joy, peace, endurance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.
4. Trust that God will fight for you in any injustice.
5. Confide in a wise friend, but most of all unburden yourself to God. Jesus suggests we hook up with him, then things will be easier.
6. Figure out, with God’s help, when it’s time to stay or walk away. Jesus has set you free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.
Here’s a prayer to help you:
Lord, I ask you to give me peace and patience when I feel impatient. I seek your help to express kindness when I want to be sharp and hard, because I can’t do this on my own.
______________ is like a child who has never grown up. Show me she/he is your child.
Teach me be gentle with my response, to know when to make a stand when I am abused and treated badly. Give me self-control when frustrating situations arise.
I admit, I feel bitter and cynical about the good you can do through this imperfect person. But, help me remember I am also imperfect but I still want you to work through me.
Most of all, I ask for your protection and to know when I need to protect myself. Amen.