We’re All Doing The Best We Can

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When we take a step back and remember that most of the time people aren’t “out to get us,” purposefully doing things to upset or annoy us, or consciously trying to make mistakes, disappoint us, or create difficulty (they’re simply doing the best they can and what they think makes the most sense) – we can save ourselves from unnecessary overreactions and stress. And, when we’re able to have this same awareness and compassion in how we relate to ourselves, we can dramatically alter our lives and relationships in a positive way.
Give people the benefit of the doubt. Most of the time people have good intentions. Many of us, myself included, have been trained to be cautious and suspicious of others, even seeing this as an important and effective skill in life and business. However, we almost always get what we expect from people, so the more often we give people the benefit of the doubt, the more often they will prove us “right,” and the less often we will waste our precious time and energy on cynicism, suspicion, and judgment.
Don’t take things personally. One of my favorite sayings is, “You wouldn’t worry about what other people think about you so much, if you realized how little they actually did.” The truth is that most people are focused on themselves much more than on us. Too often in life we take things personally that have nothing to do with us. This doesn’t mean we let people walk all over us or treat us in disrespectful or hurtful ways (it can be important for us to speak up and push back at times in life). However, when we stop taking things so personally, we liberate ourselves from needless upset, defensiveness, and conflict.
Look for the good. Another way to say what I mentioned above about getting what we expect from other people, is that we almost always find what we look for. If you want to find some things about me that you don’t like, consider obnoxious, or get on your nerves – just look for them, I’m sure you’ll come up with some. On the flip side, if you want to find some of my best qualities and things you appreciate about me, just look for those – they are there too. As Werner Erhard said, “In every human being there is both garbage and gold, it’s up to us to choose what we pay attention to.” Looking for the good in others (as well as in life and in ourselves), is one of the best ways to find things to appreciate and be grateful for.
Seek first to understand. Often when we’re frustrated, annoyed, or in conflict with another person (or group of people), we don’t feel seen, heard, or understood. As challenging and painful as this can be, one of the best things we can do is to shift our attention from trying to get other people to understand us (or being irritated that it seems like they don’t), is to seek to understand the other person (or people) involved in an authentic way. This can be difficult, especially when the situation or conflict is very personal and emotional to us. However, seeking to understand is one of the best ways for us to liberate ourselves from the grip of criticism and judgment, and often helps shift the dynamic of the entire thing. Being curious, understanding, and even empathetic of another person and their perspective or feelings doesn’t mean we agree with them, it simply allows us to get into their world and see where they’re coming from – which is essential to letting go of judgment, connecting with them, and ultimately resolving the conflict.
Be gentle with others (and especially with yourself). Being gentle is the opposite of being critical. When we’re gentle, we’re compassionate, kind, and loving. We may not like, agree with, or totally understand what someone has done (or why), but we can be gentle in how we respond and engage with them. Being gentle isn’t about condoning or appeasing anyone or anything, it’s about having a true sense of empathy and perspective. And, the most important place for us to bring a sense of gentleness is to ourselves. Many of us have a tendency to be hyper self-critical. Sadly, some of the harshest criticism we dole out in life is aimed right at us. Another great saying I love is, “We don’t see people as they are, we see them as we are.” As we alter how we relate to ourselves, our relationship to everyone else and to the world around us is altered in a fundamental way.

Love Allison💛

 

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Tips to Transform Your Prayers

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Tips to Transform Your Prayers

You can become a prayer warrior. Here’s how:

Use Scripture to boost your prayer confidence. If you want to become a prayer warrior, saturate yourself with the words and examples of prayer warriors found in the Bible. For example:

Moses in Exodus 15:2, 3: “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my victory. . . . The Lord is a warrior.”

David in Psalm 28:7: “The Lord is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me.”

The three Hebrew captives in Daniel 3:17: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.”

The prophet Micah: “But as for me, I am filled with power and the Spirit of the Lord. I am filled with justice and might” (3:8).

Jesus in Mark 9:23: “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

Paul in Ephesians 3:20: “Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.”

Pray for the “impossible.” Prayer warriors don’t hesitate to pray for the impossible. They take seriously these words from Jesus: “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26).

No matter how grim the circumstances, pray boldly, even when the request seems impossible.

Robert W. Zinnecker of Rexford, New York, writes about a time when he felt frightened and alone. He was sitting in a garden area outside the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “I had just agreed to have my second major surgery in three weeks for a rare form of cancer,” he recalls. The prospects were dubious. Mayo had handled only 25 cases like his in its history, and no patient had survived.

Throughout his illness, Zinnecker’s faith had remained strong, but now he felt abandoned by God. Returning to his motel room, he found an envelope had been mailed to him. It was from a work colleague and contained a card and a small pewter pin replica of a small child in the palm of a giant hand. The accompanying Scripture was from Isaiah 49:15, 16: “I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.”

As Zinnecker read that verse and held the little pewter pin, he felt a warm glow of assurance that God had not forgotten him. He prayed for the “impossible,” a successful surgical outcome. “The next day, after I was four hours in surgery, the surgeon told my wife, ‘There is no trace of the cancer.’ Now, 15 years later, I continue to rejoice in the warmth of that assurance of God’s love. I am in his hands,” Zinnecker says.

Pray in simple, concrete language. That is what Jesus instructed us to do when he taught people the Lord’s Prayer. That prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13, is only 57 words long in the original Greek. In English it is 52 words and can be recited in less than 30 seconds. And most of the words in the prayer consist of one syllable, which by today’s standards means the written form of the Lord’s Prayer is on a second- or third-grade level.

The lesson: use simple, concrete language when speaking with God. Express yourself clearly and concisely. Consider this wisdom from author John B. Coburn:

Be yourself. Be natural before God. Do not pretend to emotions you do not feel. Tell him whatever is on your heart and mind with whatever words are most natural to you. You do not have to speak to him in “religious” language about “spiritual” matters only. . . . Speak as naturally and as easily as you would to a friend, since God is just that..

Offer bold prayers. When praying, think about this insight from writer William Arthur Ward: “God wants us to be victors, not victims; to grow, not grovel; to soar, not sink; to overcome, not to be overwhelmed.” Offer bold prayers that reflect a large faith and a large hope.

A prayer warrior who offered bold prayers was Archibald Campbell Tait, an archbishop of Canterbury in the 19th century. Between March 11 and April 8, 1856, Tait and his wife lost five of their six daughters to scarlet fever. At the height of his enormous grief, the archbishop offered this bold prayer of gratitude for God’s blessings in his life:

O God, you have dealt very mysteriously with us. We have been passing through deep waters. . . . Yet, O Lord, shall I not thank you now? I will thank you not only for the children you have left to us, but for those you have reclaimed. I thank you for the blessing of the last ten years, and for all the sweet memories of these lives. . . . I thank you for the full assurance that each has gone to the arms of the Good Shepherd, whom each loved according to the capacity of her years. I thank you for the bright hopes of a happy reunion, when we shall meet to part no more.

Have great expectations. Some people are prayer worriers not prayer warriors. They are filled with worry and self-doubt when they pray. This spiritual condition results in weakened, ineffective prayers.

The apostle James addressed this very issue: “When you ask him (God), be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. . . . They waver back and forth in everything they do” (James 1:6-8).

When approaching God with your needs, be strong and positive. Believe with all your mind and heart that God can and will respond to you. Pray big. Believe big. Think big. Cultivate a strong, positive, vibrant faith.