Loving others can sometimes feel difficult, and not just because we have our own free will, our own personalities and our individual issues. And not just because sometimes our experiences with others can be rocky and full of anxiety or stress. We can tend to love from our emotions, intellect, strength, and within our own lens and conditions instead of with an agape love, God’s love, love that comes from and is God. God’s love is not limited. We may not set out to love in a limited way but it can happen. So when a loved one takes too long to change, grow, respond to the love, or receive the love we have for them, etc., we may understandably get frustrated, afraid, sad, angry and more.
Think about it. As a parent, you may love your child with everything you got and gone get. You want the best for them. You want them to do their best and be their best. You want them to have a healthy, great future. But they may be disrespectful, making poor decisions, and letting everything you teach them go in one ear and out the other. They keep driving you crazy and you feel defeated. Or maybe you are patient and nothing they do can shift your hope or peace. But if not, maybe you like countless parents who feel like throwing up your hands or letting them know they can catch a hand lol.
Same thing with a spouse or friend (or even a colleague), your patience may be running low and you are beyond frustrated with them. You want them to pay for what they are doing or aren’t doing.
I remember I was frustrated at my child and one of the messages that hit my heart was have mercy. I believe that message was one from God. The Hebrew word for mercy is rachum and it means compassionate. Within mercy, there is forgiveness and there is compassion. When we deserved God’s wrath, He gave us mercy. When we deserved God to turn His back on us, He gave us His ear and His heart. And there are times now when we may deserve punishment or a certain type of consequence, but God gives us mercy. He may not remove every consequence, but He will give us His kindness, His compassion, His forgiveness, His patience and his unfailing love.
And so maybe someone in your life needs you to have mercy upon them. Maybe you need to give your own self mercy. God’s mercies are new everyday and we are definitely to have mercy upon others and ourselves.
Now this doesn’t mean to enable or to make excuses for someone’s poor behavior or choices. Nor does it mean to fail to set boundaries. This doesn’t mean to not give consequences or allow someone in your life that is not respecting your boundaries or that may be a danger to you or someone else in your life. So use discernment, stay alert and be proactive. Seek God’s wisdom in your relationships with others: family, friends, colleagues, children, spouses, etc.
Moreover, have mercy. Forgive and bear compassion to others around you. Not only because they need it, but because it serves your heart in so many ways and also because God forgives and shows compassion to you daily.
Remember to love others as you love yourself. Whew, Jesus, give us grace and teach us how to love ourselves.
Read this scripture below on mercy and forgiveness:
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
Matthew 18:21-35 NLT
Someone may be experiencing a loss, burnout, anxiety, depression, consistent stress. And when someone expresses his/her heart, issue or struggle, offer compassion and a listening ear. (If saved) Let the Holy Spirit lead you from there.
But do not say these things:
Just pray about it.
Stop saying that.
Everyone has anxiety.
These statements can sound dismissive. They can sound insensitive. How do you know the person isn’t praying and that fight to get out of the bed or talking with someone was the answer to their prayers. Yes, sometimes a person saying things out of habit or unloading on another can be frustrating or even overwhelming. When it is too much, you have the right to protect your boundaries and your own mental health. However, don’t leave your compassion to the wayside.
Don’t tell someone “everyone has anxiety or depression right now”. You took the focus off of the person needing someone to listen and put the focus on everyone. It seems dismissive and one can be left feeling that they should have never said anything. Even moreso, one can feel like what he/she feels doesn’t matter or isn’t of concern. “If everyone else is dealing with this why I am complaining. Just deal with it.”
“Be strong.” As if expressing yourself and struggling is a sign of weakness. And one must learn to process everything they feel instead of ignoring it.
In any event, let us show compassion. Not every time someone needs advice but if you must, use wisdom, preferably Godly wisdom. And most importantly, listen. Sometimes, people just want to be heard and some of us are doing the work to overcome. We just need perhaps a hug (upon permission), a prayer or encouragement, patience, or just to be seen and heard.
I came across an interesting video along my YouTube feed about four types of introverts. They were the Social Introvert, Restrained Introvert, Anxious Introvert and Thinking Introvert. The Thinking Introvert and perhaps Restrained Introvert sounds like me, however, I think I am mix of all four. Here is a link to the video: https://youtu.be/dNKQYjsxgPU .
I have come to understand (basically accept) that I am shy and introverted. And that is okay. I am uncomfortable speaking in front of others. I have foregone food until after a speaking engagement, avoided mics (I don’t want anyone to see my hand shake), gotten physically sick and lately I think I just run out of breath. I get through speaking in front of others by the grace of God and much preparation (and building confidence). There are times I get nervous presenting a workshop to students that I have even worked with multiple times. I used to know how to dance, pick up a dance, or at least manage my two feet when I was younger and around my cousins or by myself. Now, I got two left feet and won’t dare dance around anyone unless I have a bolt of joy and don’t mind feeling awkward.
I also tend to be in my head a lot. I love spending time thinking. On the flip side, I tend to also worry over if I said something right or did something enough. And I too need ample of amount of time to just be alone and recoup from being overwhelmed. If I could Thanos snap people away when I felt like it or just press pause… 😆.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love people. I love encouraging others and showing up for others. And I do genuinely interact with people, am family-oriented, and have been described as bubbly. In fact, I loved planning get-togethers with my friends, family vacation trips, and family nights. I still love planning such but haven’t planned much as of now, except family nights and maybe an outing or two with my best friend. I also like staying home most times, but I do love nature and love getting out doors.
I don’t like talking on the phone much and prefer to text. I also love reading or just watching movies. I enjoy my own company much of the time.
As an introvert and a shy person, how does this affect me as a Christian? I don’t know as I am just asking myself this. I do know that God can still get the glory from a shy, introvert like me. And it makes sense how He has given me the gifts of encouragement and mercy. I thank God that although I need time alone and love my own company, I have care and concern for others. I am not treading through life selfishly. However, on the flip side, I am learning to set boundaries. It is not good to be all about just yourself, but you do have to pour into yourself, invest in yourself, take care of yourself, create moments and space for self. Then only can you adequately and without resentment pour into someone else’s cup. God did say to love others as you love yourself. Some of us need to learn to love ourselves.
God has helped me to encourage others through my writing. God has helped me to be able to create memories and moments for others. God has blessed and will bless me continually with purposeful relationships. Just because I am an introvert and am shy, doesn’t mean God can’t still use me. Sometimes, I have to press out of my comfort zone. Sometimes (well maybe most of the time), I have to rest after. But God can and will still use me.
We are to share God’s Word and love through speech and action. Whether you are shy and introverted or not, you can still impact others with the heart and Word of God.
You may be an introvert and Christian also. But know that although these things describe your personality and are some facets to who you are, it is God that truly defines who you are. Your identity lies within Him. And with that, just don’t let these characteristics or traits, whatever they are called, keep you shut off from the world. He sent us to go into the world to spread His Word and love, to finish up where Jesus left off. And yes, do remember to take time to replenish yourself and set boundaries as you challenge your fears as well as develop good relationships and support systems. Nothing wrong with taking care of your self and mind.
Happy New Year!!!! I pray that this year is one that you continue to grow, heal, learn to trust God, have God’s peace that surpasses all understanding, and that you have joy for the joy of the Lord is your strength. And that you are healthy, laugh a lot, and live life as well as live meaningfully.
Alrighty then, in celebration of a new year and with much reflection brought upon this time, here are my 12 favorite posts I have written since the start of my WordPress and public writing/author journey.
No specific order here:
I wrote this post in relative to the release of my second book. I explored what it meant to walk in your own shoes. What it meant and what it meant for me. I remembered setting my heels out for a photoshoot for the book cover. The process for this book was fun and a great time of reflection.
2. Go To War
I love this post also. I love when God download or shall I say uploads a word to my spirit for myself as well others. It more so feels like a word for me that I get so excited about and sometimes nervous about sharing with others. Sometimes, if you are like me, confrontation and fighting scares you but there is a spiritual warfare that we as Christians cannot ignore. And God wants to teach us how to fight and how to strengthen our faith while doing so.
This is my favorite poem. I wrote this for a church service/event. Much prayer and seeking God led me to the book of Job and reflecting upon my own experience. Subsequently, this poem was birthed. Thank You, Jesus!
I wrote this post after watching an episode or entire series of Raising Dion with the youngin’. We enjoyed this series. And as usual when I watch some things I found a lesson or two that spoke to my heart. I feel like God uploaded another one to my spirit.
The Walking Dead is my favorite tv show. And I wrote this post after watching one of the episodes (I forgot the season, it may have been 9). Anyways, once again the lightbulb went on and I got another word.
I started a new series last year I believe or the year before: Tannika’s Writing Vault. This post featured a skit I wrote for church that never made it to production or event. Yet, I had so much fun writing it and preparing for it.
This is another favorite as I visited what it looked like for me as a Christian and subsequently someone else to guard their hearts. As a believer and follower of Christ Jesus, I am to guard my heart and do so intentionally, even when my flesh says otherwise.
This is one of my all time favorite posts. I wrote it for another blog titled EmpowerMoments. My time with EmpowerMoments brought a lot out of me as a writer and editor, and I am forever grateful. This post, whew, I knew it had to be another upload to my spirit from God partly because of the transparency and the grace to write it and upload it. And I love how He used a scene from a movie I enjoy watching to express a message to me that was needed.
This post is simply that, introducing my latest book, titled Bring It To The Surface: Poetry & Journal. I love my growth as a self published author. And this book, I believe showcases my growth as an author, poet, and writer. I also was so excited to bring forth something a little different than what I had done previously with my poetry books. A Journal for self reflection. A guide to self reflect and begin a journey of healing. One that allows God to bring some things or all of them to the surface but one day/step at a time.
I wrote this post because the I Am Free promo photoshoot for my first book or post for it resurfaced and it got me to reflecting on my life and struggles with anxiety and fear at the time. I felt like I either was lying or had fallen backwards since I wasn’t feeling free. So hence, the post “Was I Really Free?” came about.
11. My DIY Project
I desired to change my bathroom for awhile and finally did so. I documented the journey and thought it would be different and fun to post. I had fun painting the bathroom walls, not so much the ceiling. And I enjoyed redecorating the bathroom.
I don’t really like being on camera. I am a behind the scenes, shy one. However, I thought I would step out of my comfort zone as I thought of fun videos to do for Christmas, especially since I was in the Christmas spirit. This is what came to mind. I had fun doing the video and definitely watched my most favorite one the next evening.
So there you go! Although I love many more and I also enjoy my writing tips series and the interviews I did showcasing awesome writers/authors, and much more these are my at least my favorite 12 posts.
I don’t know if it is because of the Christmas season and day or because I am having some writing flow this week (been having Writer’s block for a while), but here is another post.
As I lie down in bed and after finishing composing my previous post, I am filled with thoughts of appreciation and gratitude. I thought of an elder who took time to teach me how to drive and pass the driving test. To this day (although unfortunately, I have anxiety and driving anxiety), I still remember the things he taught me as well as his kindness and patience. Mind you, I got my license late in the game. Another person I am grateful for is another elder who I endearingly called my god granny. Her humor, wisdom, kindness, and jazzy spirit was so amazing. I miss both of them, Elder Heath and Sister Dixon.
There are a lot of things that you may still be dealing with, but I challenge you to make a list of things and people you are grateful for. Let’s go! I just named two people. I am also grateful for a new day, a warm house, and family… The list goes on. I am thankful especially for my Jesus!!!!! Without Him, there is no me or no hope.
What or who are you grateful for?