The journey of any Christian is certainly a lifelong episode that is not usually on a bestseller’s list unless it involves seeing how God moved through his/her life with majesty and miracles. Those stories always inspire me to live my best for Christ.
My life story has been mostly about changes. So, after twenty-two years of teaching in the Christian arena, I traded my June, July, and August summers into being a full-time registered nurse. Going from a Christian atmosphere into an all-secular employment shares its own daily challenges. I discovered the “world” does not work on a Bible-based philosophy but one that is solely set for profit, executing a pattern of competition among staff and attitudes of ownership over specific roles.
Recently, God provided me with some challenges. The first challenge began with a new position very different from what I am well-trained for. This department had very caring surgeons to their patients with very high expectations for their staff. Along with this challenge, God handed to me two well-intentioned dragons (the RNs) to train me!
What was once a well-rounded, calm, happy, quick-thinking nurse now became a stressed, edgy, unequipped, and easily offended (or touchy) nurse! Every day became an anticipation of being humbled, corrected, or questioned (often in unjustified happenings). These difficult situations caused a new focus to begin in my heart asking the Lord to sustain me in the challenges.
My focus began with research in the Word of God with the goal: To learn to handle criticism or offenses in ways that glorify God. These are the reminders that God showed me:
1. PAUSE. Does this situation warrant a response? Should I remain silent or move on? Am I …leaning not unto my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)? Ask the Lord! He always answers.
2. Remember, they are not my enemy. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).
3. The enemy loves division! Satan is a happy camper if we react wrongly! Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the LORD to handle the matter (Proverbs 20:22 – NLT).
4. My identity is in Christ, so don’t let “people pleasing” throw me under the bus. I can grow in this area of criticism and not the opinions of others. See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God (I John 3:1.)And, that is what we are!
5. Grace is found in Christ because Christ exhibited grace to us. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness… (2 Corinthians 12:9).
6. Ask myself, “Am I choosing self?” Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord (Romans.12:19).
7. Be willing to forgive, humble myself, grow and pray for the offender. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44).
My journey is still in process and will continue to be until the day of redemption.
Have you noticed how strong our flesh can be? How we handle ourselves with criticism is where the rubber meets the road. If the only thing we do is pause, then part of the battle is won! Jesus is the keeper of the heart and out of it will flow the issues of our hearts. Remember, it is not about protecting our reputation, but about praising HIS!
By Michelle Dellinger