Are you struggling with your burdens, trials, storms and temptations? How are you doing? Do they just keep coming like a “mighty river?” Yes they do and they will keep right on coming. What great news you bring you might be saying, probably not in such nice terms. Am I right? Well, like you I too have storms and constant trials and temptations in my life. Currently there seem to be difficult people. I did ask God for help with difficult or unreasonable people. You know that God obliged me by turning out more of them. His response is to have me learn to deal with them, because it is usually not about me. So are there any helps on this common issue? Perhaps the Top-10 or 11.
1. Keep Your Cool: Don’t join the fray or be offended or defensive. A key fruit of the Spirit is “self-control.” This requires seeking the Lord and keeping your mind and heart centered on Him. By the way, this is always the best bet. Don’t try this on you own.
2. Fly Away Like a Bird: David the psalmist wanted to do that. “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:7-11). It isn’t running away, it is just to deescalate or not engage difficult people unless the stakes are high. Seek the Lord and His strength and peace.
3. Don’t React But Be Proactive: Recognize how unreasonable or problematic some are. They will be negative, so be positive. Remember it’s not about you, even though it feels like it sometimes.
4. Pick You Battles: Save you energy and grief for worthy projects. You have power, use it wisely.
5. Separate The Person From the Issue: Stay on the problem to be solved; the person is a distraction.
6. Put Spotlight on Them: By this I mean ask them questions, involve them, make them come up with positive solutions when they just can’t get out of the dark.
7.Change From Following to Leading: Don’t just sit there and stew, take action! Take positive action. Light always overcomes the darkness.
8. Use Appropriate Humor: Find the humorous in the ordinary, this is a gift and a reorienting tool or strategy.
9. Set Consequences: This may be difficult as it means addressing behavior directly. But keep it on the project or objective.
10.Confront “bullies” (Safely): Yes they are insecure and are often cowards needing to obstruct for control. Control freaks are insecure bullies.
11. The Battle is The Lord’s: In all of the Top-10 there is one solution to strengthen and guide you. The battle is not yours it is the Lord’s. “This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2Chronicles 20:15). This was God’s answer as King Hezekiah sought Him before he went out to meet the Moabites and Ammonites, enemies of God’s people. And of course all of you know the story of David and Goliath. David, even though his own brothers were chiding and harassing him, kept his eyes clearly on the Lord. “’The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine’” (1 Samuel 17:37). He disregarded Saul’s armor as it didn’t fit him. He disregarded the taunts saying, “But I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down...All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give all of you over into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:47). Do you get it God is fighting for you. As Paul wrote in Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” You are not alone and without power or resource, but instead have the limitless armies and warehouses of God to supply you. He is your strength. Find Scriptures to remind you and uphold you in times of trial and temptation. I love to go to the Psalms. “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1).