april 6

If you came over from Encouragement for Today, welcome!

I woke up unhappy.

I had one of those dreams. You know, where you try to make a phone call and you’ve forgotten how to use the phone.  Or you suddenly realize that you are way more exposed than you should be. . .

But it was more than that.

Every conversation Richard and I had over the past several weeks has been heavy. His mom and dad are struggling. Sometimes we just feel helpless to know what to do.

There are times I sit on the floor and whisper through tears, “Lord, we love them so much. Help us.”

We are in a busy season — loving our “grand-littles,” ministering, writing. There are evenings where we sit together, and he’s on his laptop writing extensive notes so that there will be care for his most vulnerable clients, and I’m juggling deadlines so I do “just one more thing.”

So my dreams were launching into crazy episodes of “I can’t fix this,” or “I can’t do that.”

All of them made me feel even more helpless. I woke up exhausted, which made me out of sorts.

In difficult situations we sometimes become difficult people

When things aren’t going well, sometimes the burden of that can change our attitude.

[ctt template=”4″ link=”Pb01H” via=”yes” ]Is it possible that we are the difficult one? God can turn that around. https://ctt.ec/Pb01H+ @suzanneeller[/ctt]

Can we just be honest about that? It’s not what we want. We don’t plan on staying there. Yet it’s a fact. We are cranky. We are tired. We are short with others and then beat ourselves up about it.

In today’s Encouragement for Today devo, we talked about how to treat others who are difficult.

These same beautiful steps can help when we are the difficult ones.

1. Give extravagantly

“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.” (Luke 6:30, NIV)

Jesus loves us right where we are. He loves us when we’re prickly. He loves us when we fail to think before we speak. As hard as it is to understand, we don’t always deserve a loving response from Him, but our Heavenly Father gives it in generous measure.

Being loved by Jesus allows us to love ourselves

We are free to give a measure of mercy, even as we work to resolve the problem.

When we offer ourselves mercy, we offer ourselves a way out. We don’t have to remain in the attitude or outlook that we woke up with.

I’m not being trite. I’m there, friend. I’m absolutely there.

When I kneel on the floor as worship music played in the background, the tears are not just about my helplessness, but the fact that God still loves me.

So much.

I surrender these feelings, Lord. They are real, but so are you. Help us. Be with us. Show us how to love in this hard place. Give us wisdom. 

Loving extravagantly acknowledges that my grumpy, out-of-sorts self is truly loved by God, and I am not without help.

2. Treat them the way you want to be treated

When I see someone hurting, my instinct is to bring them in from the cold. To meet the immediate needs and then get to the deeper issues.

If we are the difficult person, let’s attend to the immediate. Let’s ask:

Am I hungry?

Am I angry?

Am I lonely?

Am I tired?

Meet those needs. Treat yourself the way you’d treat another person in the same situation. Nurture your physical body with good food. Acknowledge those emotions. If you need others to sit with you, or to encourage you, move toward that person. If you’re tired, give yourself permission to rest.



3. Love unexpectedly

When we feel like we are the difficult one, we often go in the wrong direction. We move away from God instead of toward him. It’s the expected reaction of shame.

Let’s love unexpectedly. Climb into Abba Father’s presence. Let him know how much you love him.

Give him love. Receive his love.


BOOK cover

When you answer the “Come With Me” invitation, you’ll be forever changed.

Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads

It’s also available through Proverbs 31 Ministries. It’s retail price, but every cent of profit goes back into ministry to millions of women around the world through FirstFive, Encouragement for Today, and free online Bible studies.