Courage to Change Where You Are (Rated PG-13)

The squeak of a wheel chair, the smell of coffee, a laugh heard here and there. It’s morning in a home of multiple generations who encourage each other to fully live.
And so we turn the focus on you – are you living fully today?
As you seek Him, may God fill you up with Himself and stir you towards the truly great “change where you are” life!

The above is my Facebook status this morning on a page called “Encouragement for Life’s Journey”.  In writing daily encouragement and exhortation, I have found that many click “Like” on what is easy to swallow and feels good going down.  There are never responses to larger pieces of truth that call for chewing.  It seems most want a more palatable menu.

My own Dad lives on oatmeal three times a day and is stubborn when you try to help him get in and out of bed or when you take his coffee cup because he is falling asleep again at the table and it’s tilting like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

For him, this is mostly acceptable because he recently turned 80 years old, but for you or me this would be ridiculous.

If you take this word picture, Photoshop out the Dad and replace him with a recent picture of the Church, it is doubly ridiculous.

Here is a group whose purpose is to be changed into a clearer image of Jesus and multiply this likeness over the face of the planet and you generally have a group who are more concerned about carpet color, temperature, and whose feelings were recently hurt by the Pastor.  And don’t even think of touching their tradition!  They are in a spiritual wheelchair, are satisfied with an oatmeal diet, and need assistance for daily spiritual tasks that they should have surpassed by now.

The general condition of most churches is not good.  Passing them by, you wonder if you need to either take their temperature or make sure they are still breathing.  Does our condition make weary anyone else besides me?  (I wanted to say does this piss you off, but that wouldn’t be proper here.)  Does this stir you up to want more?  Because there is more.  And you don’t have to hold some office or serve in the Church to fill this calling.  Ordination is not a requirement.  It involves you where you are, whether in business, government, media, arts and entertainment, the family, or the Church.  You can have a greater influence where you are.  So the question is this:

Do you have courage to change where you are?

Do you have courage to change?

If so, let me know.  Let me hear from you.  What do you think?  What is your passion?  Or are you satisfied with oatmeal three times a day?  I certainly hope not.  For you were designed to bring the Kingdom of Heaven into where you work, live, parent, and influence.  The flowing in who Creator God designed you to be is the place of blessing and fulfillment.  What does God have to say to those who would rather not be disturbed or challenged towards maturity?

9For this is a rebellious people, faithless and lying sons, children who will not hear the law and instruction of the Lord;

10Who [virtually] say to the seers [by their conduct], See not! and to the prophets, Prophesy not to us what is right! Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceitful illusions.

11Get out of the true way, turn aside out of the path, cease holding up before us the Holy One of Israel.

(Isaiah 30 AMP)

These are satisfied with oatmeal and want nothing more in their life or their Church from an unlimited God who wants to bless lavishly if they will only seek Him as Father.

(c) Robin Lawrimore, 2011

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24 thoughts on “Courage to Change Where You Are (Rated PG-13)

  1. Jill

    It’s amazing how on time many of these blog posts have been for me. I’m still chewing on this, and other questions I’ve been asking the Lord about change and being fully who He wants me to be…and I’m still figuring out what that looks like. 🙂

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    • Barb Brousseau

      This is a road on which God is taking me now. Right now, it is about recognizing when i am being gently nudged to do something immediately. i too often think i can wait until later, only to find the oppurtunit has gome and so has the annoiting i was given for accomplishment of that task.

      as for the Church, it literaly makes my heart sick to see what you have described. it is too true and i lament. The church is too much about doing, especially in the congregation, and not enough about relationship.
      i recently went through the book _Through Cloud & Fire_ by Walter Lowndes.
      He used the journey of israel our of Egypt to make some very good points on relationship with God. One is that relation with Him is more important than wrking for Him. This is the key the Church Body in general and the congregation in particular seems to have lost. Especially the leaders of most of these meetings.

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      • Robin Lawrimore

        My dear Barbara,
        Sounds like you’re learning to walk in very specific timing. How can you pray for the Church you have always had a heart for? I also see the Lord moving those who are ready from relationship to strategy and principle application. Once we know who we are as “sons”, we are ready to live as noble subjects of the King. What other thoughts do you have?

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  2. Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

    So what is the recipe for dealing with passive aggressive behavior? I do great with wreckage. Give me a toxic waste dump with a “help me” sign and I can go places. But today God smacked me upside the head over the fact that I broadly keep on walking when someone goes passive aggressive on me in order to not grow.

    So clearly I have been a bad boy, and I need to repent and commit to a different lifestyle. Check and check.

    But committing to a different lifestyle does not mean I have one more tool than I had this morning. So…what works? How am I supposed to be life giving to those people who God loves and I don’t who really truly don’t want to change and don’t care who knows it?

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    • Robin Lawrimore

      Wonderfully transparent question. I empathize since I am dealing with this behavior in someone who used to parent me! Frustration can mount quickly, especially if the passive-aggressive is a repeat offender. Whether it’s an individual at home or work, or whether it’s a group, say… maybe a Church, the offense can’t become about you. We continue to love, we continue to share truth, we continue to be patient, but we also maintain healthy boundaries in relationship. For help with that, I suggest reading Henry Cloud’s “Changes That Heal”.

      Jesus dealt with the passive-aggressive pharisees regularly – sometimes patiently, sometimes not so patiently speaking truth straight out. I don’t see that He ever expected anything other than religious behavior from them. If someone does not want to grow with what you have offered, you can’t get ticked and just walk away. Sometimes when I’m tempted to react with my Dad, for instance, I just look at him and wait for an answer. I don’t always make it easy for him to get away without communicating. He still may choose to drive his wheel chair back to his room without responding (which happens often), but then I choose my own response to that. Depends on the issue at hand. Is it important enough to follow and address again? If it’s the leaning coffee cup, I let it alone. If it’s about something serious concerning his health or safety, I follow and ask him again, letting him know the reason for my concern.

      Hope that helps.

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      • Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

        Robin!!!!!!!! Where are you coming from? The Pharisees as PASSIVE aggressive????

        Those bad boys murdered my King with malice aforethought and special circumstances worthy of the death penalty for them! If those are your passive aggressive people, delivery me from ever meeting someone on your terrorist list! I think you need to eat more oatmeal. Makes for better thinking.

        Here is what my passive aggressive world looks like:

        Fred: Arthur, you are the man! I have been following your teachings for five years and am just overwhelmed with your wisdom, anointing and walk with God. I have some deep issues and there is just absolutely no one here in East Overshoe, Iowa who can help me. Will you give a struggling brother a hand?

        Arthur: You are as oily as a politician crossed with a used car salesman, but against my better judgment, I’ll listen. What is your sad story?

        Fred: I need you to pray for my wife. She is in horrible bondage and is just wearing me out. Also, could you curse to death the dog next door that barks all night long? And finally, which of the seven curses is affecting the Cubs? I am losing too much money in the pool down at the bar.

        Arthur: The Cubs is easy. The last will be first — in the Millennium. In other words, check back later. Much later. For the dog, here is a link to an audio clip that will cost you $2. It is about prayer targets and will help you mellow out the dog in about two weeks. And in terms of your marriage, you are the problem, not her. Here are six strategies to overcome the junk in your life, and no, she has not been writing me behind your back.

        Fred: Cold stony silence. He just withdraws from the conversation.

        So that is one of the two faces of passive aggressive I am deal with. I end up getting mad at myself for spending the time answering Fred when it was pretty evident he was looking for a free ride. I am mad at him for wasting the wisdom I shared with him. And I am doubly mad at him for getting me in trouble with the King.

        I can get in all the trouble I need without his help, thank you very much.

        So what do I do with passive aggressive Fred? Let him walk away? The King seems to say, “No.” Or write him back and…?

        I an scurrying around today getting ready to leave for England and am so busy with trivia I don’t have time to do anything as important as growing up and getting a life, so could you give me the précis from Henry Cloud’s strategy for dealing with Fred so I can stay focused on my trivia?

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      • Robin Lawrimore

        (Honest thought: Wish I was going to England.) Arthur, you are turning my blog into your own personal game board. OK, straight shooter, here’s the deal. The Pharisees WERE SOMETIMES passive aggressive – when the conversation did not go their way, they backed up, re-grouped, and waited for another opportune time without responding. And yes, when after several tries to turn society against our King, they sent a lynching mob after Him. And like Fred, a lot of other people, who thought they wanted the truth also walked the long, dusty road back home when they thought He asked too much.

        Concerning Fred, he is one of a multitude who say they want help, but really don’t. They just want someone else to solve their problems so they won’t have to. Henry Cloud would say Fred has not grown up. But you can’t grow him up over a phone call. You’re right to hold him accountable with truth, but he may refuse to swallow it, leaving it as fast as leftover sushi. In doing so, Fred has handcuffed himself to his perceived problems. You can offer the key, yet he refuses it. What to do? Again with Henry Cloud: “We can try to affect others, but we can’t control them. We must give people the freedom to think what they will. Ask Jesus. People had some pretty crazy notions about Him, which He allowed.”

        Offer what you have, release Fred and let him go, and next time pray before answering the phone.

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  3. Val Criswell

    I’ll throw a different spin in here for you.

    Sometimes the challenge isn’t needing the courage to change. Instead, sometimes we struggle to stay put in obedience.

    You see clearly the reality of what’s going on around you in the Body. God has whispered to you that there’s more. What He has waiting for you looks and smells different; it’s more satisfying; it’s more Him. You hear a distant sound that you know is waiting for you. In fact, it’s going on right now without you.

    And yet.

    God says, “Wait; it’s not time.”

    And so you move forward where you are, wanting to sneak out and catch just a glimpse of what He has next. But you know His plan is best. So you put aside your discontent, your frustration, and maybe you even have some disgust to stomp on. Instead of whining, you set your feet firmly in this place and ask God daily what He would have you do to advance His kingdom.

    And you wait in this place. Because that’s what He’s told you to do.

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    • Robin Lawrimore

      Excellent! We see where we are, beyond, and where we’ve come from all at once and our life is vital in the Kingdom of Heaven plan, but we are one. It doesn’t all rest on our shoulders, but on the Shoulders built to hold all authority! Excellent.

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    • Robin Lawrimore

      Val, is this what God is telling you? If so, you wait, but I’d keep my eyes and ears wide because we are in an unusual season of grace for moving forward. Sometimes it is ours to wait and usually those are the times He is doing a deep work … usually in us. We want the big picture. Blessings as you listen.

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  4. Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

    Hey, Val, I am curious. How did you determine that it is time for Robin to wait? There is a time for fighting through a barrier and there is a time for waiting. What were the clues in her story that led you to the conclusion that she is bucking God’s timing? I would love to learn your diagnostic technique.

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    • Val Criswell

      The wait is for me and my husband. That was not a word for Robin.

      In a very definite way God brought us to our current church. He’s used that church to grow us up and open our eyes (in a very literal, supernatural way) to know, see, and understand truths about Him that we would not have been as easy to at our previous congregation.

      But now, God has led us to evaluate that entire model. Even though we appreciate our church and it’s a healthy church, it’s a typical North American church. Robin’s post is spot on. The environment and the way it’s set up allows too many people to substitute their weekly visit to their pew for their relationship with God. What He’s shown us that He can be better glorified and worshiped in a different setting.

      So what’s settled into us is discontent (from the Holy Spirit). It’s not with our specific church-but with the system. He has something else for us. It’s like telling your children you’re going to take them to Disney World – but not until 6 months from now.

      We’re longing to go to that new place with Him. But He’s not releasing us yet. So we’re waiting.

      Like

  5. Vivecia Coomer

    I’m brusied & bleeding from encounter with family this week. I thought having a servant – heart was what was wanted & I did & hated every minute of it. I longed to be loved, appreciated & wanted. I felt invisible,left-out, alone & abandoned & I don’t have a clue how to fix it. All I know is Jesus is “keeping” me & I’m resting in that!.

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    • Robin Lawrimore

      Vivecia, let Jesus keep you before your hopeful expectations of others mount up. You cannot do enough to please your family. Our value is not to be anchored in the approval of others anyway. Which is obviously why you “hated every minute of it”. Jesus stands ready to love and appreciate you. Ask Him to help you receive it. And by the way, we serve family by serving Jesus, not the other way around. Sink your teeth into the truth and chew. You’ll get it down!

      Like

  6. Rosa

    You go,m’lady ! Thanks for an encouraging post. I have been feeling stuck, and the oatmeal is becoming distasteful,indeed. I feel stale and bored silly with the same old,same old. I just am not sure what step to take…

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    • Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

      Well for starters you could drive a few miles and watch Robin drink some fair trade African coffee while you eat another bowl of oatmeal.

      Or better yet, invite her up to walk your old land and new and teach her what you know about cleansing land. She is eager to learn.

      Be sure and tell her about all the cows you killed along the way…

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      • Rosa

        ARTHUR!!!! There is no way I would sit and passively WATCH anyone drink fair trade African coffee.Particularly if it happens to be Good African coffee…do not get between me and my Good African coffee! Robin…I don’t know where in South Carolina you are, but if you ever wander close to Landrum, give me a shout…I will tell you all about cow killing, and maybe we could brainstorm ideas on how Arthur could deal with copout Fred…over Good African coffee.

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      • Robin Lawrimore

        Rosa, I would love to join you for coffee – I have Kenya AA beans in my canister. Something special about the soil it grows in. I am in Florence, about 3 1/2 hours away, but maybe we could arrange a visit sometime. I’m sure we could brainstorm some great ideas and probably get into a little trouble. Arthur did say I was to ask you about your mission work and amazing son. So I’ll look forward to hear more of your story. : )

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  7. Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.

    Well, I like your strategy of just letting Fred ride off into the sunset. I like it so well I have used it for many years, but this whole thing began with God dinging me for my dysfunctional approach to dealing with passive aggression on the part of all the Freds in my life.

    Cutting and running is easy for them. But what is my alternative move?

    The only thing I have come up with, I consider too labor intensive. I have, on occasion in the past, built a relationship with a few Freds over time, and then broken the news to them that I was not going to be able to deliver them from immaturity with a prayer session.

    It hasn’t seemed to be any more effective — just a little more humane.

    So I am left with an empty tool kit. Letting Fred wander off and self-destruct is not meeting with the King’s approval. I know I cannot own Fred’s choices. As we say over here, “Free will is a terrible thing, especially when someone else has it.”

    But I am apparently supposed to do better than I have done hitherto.

    Feel free to jump right in here with some words of wisdom and inspiration.

    As an obscure philosopher once said, “There has to be a better way.”

    Like

    • Rosa

      Arthur I have been thinking a lot about Fred and the fact that we all have free will. He may not want to do the hard work, but you have laid it out for him, and unless you’ve cut him off entirely,you HAVE given him a place to come back to. Not everyone has that . And if things get painful enough, he may just do that.

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  8. Kristi

    Robin,
    I just read this (I’m a few days behind) but cannot tell you how much it meant to me this morning! I have so many thoughts swirling around, and after chewing a bit more, I may come back with them. For now, I am simply enjoying a good chuckle (after 24 hours of serious emotional pain) and a breath of fresh air from your post, and the ensuing dialogue. I must say, I am shocked but amused at your comments to Arthur (whom I love and am terrified of all at the same time! No offence Arthur!) as I would NEVER be able to talk to anyone like that. As a soft hearted, non-confrontational RG teacher, conflict/confrontation has been exceptionally challenging for me. Thankfully, I have grown and received huge amounts of healing over the past 2 years, and am learning to greatly appreciate the prophet gifting which has enabled me to toughen up and mature quite a bit. (Huge thanks to Arthur and Plumbline for this!) I’m curious what RG you are? I am so enjoying your writing and your thoughts regularily hit home for me. Thanks for the bright spot in a dark morning for me!

    Like

    • Robin Lawrimore

      Hello Kristi! Welcome to my new world. God has been reshaping me as well, especially in the last 2 years. He has this way of making me be still with Him. I’m sure you’ve been there. Anyway, I’m an exhorter by gift and trying to understand it. From what I can gather, that’s why I sometimes would rather throw a pie than give a hug. But I do both. Arthur is a blessing for sure, even when elbowing me in the ribs and making me think. And I totally understand your feelings about him. (No offense, Arthur!) I have mostly avoided confrontation in my life and it’s gotten me into serious trouble. So now I’m learning how to walk and call a few of the shots, keeping an eye on my boundaries, and hopefully letting my discernment flow unhindered.

      So glad the post brought you a chuckle. Seems to be a dark morning for many, but the light always comes through. Blessings to you, Kristi!

      Like

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