How Am I Carrying My Load?

"It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it."
-Lou Holtz, National Championship Winning Football Coach and ESPN College Football Analyst

      I know we can all think of a time when we planned a trip to somewhere nice and thought of all the activities that we wanted to take part in when we got there. We began filling up our suitcase with different types of clothes and shoes to fit every occasion. To our surprise, no matter how hard we try to zip it up, it just would not close. Being tempted to give up, we start taking things out to make room. As we start putting things back in place, we realize that the clothes and shoes had been previously thrown in the suitcase with no strategy, taking up more space than necessary. After repositioning our belongings, we found that everything we had packed before was now able to fit in the suitcase after all.
     We face these same problems periodically in our minds. As humans, we tend to allow things such as doubt, anger, resentment and pride to cloud our judgement and affect our actions. It's hard, nearly impossible, to make sound decisions when our mind is being infiltrated with so many negative influences. Take the servant with only one talent for example. He let fear keep him from being productive with what he was given. When his master returned he was displeased with his servant's works, or lack thereof, and called him "wicked and slothful" (Matt 25:26). Some of us deal with anger issues. The wisest man to ever walk the Earth, Solomon, spoke on this very issue. He said, "Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools" (Ecc 7:9). Anger can cause us to do things that we will later regret. It can cause us to hurt loved ones or take justice in our own hands, rather than letting God be the judge. I know I have said some things that I wish I could have taken back, but it was too late. Situations are only made more difficult by acting out of anger. The best course of action is to stop, look and listen. We need to STOP whatever is it we are doing, or planning to do, so that we can take another LOOK at the situation after we have had time to cool down. Finally, we should LISTEN to what God has to say about the matter. His wisdom far exceeds anything that we could ever hope to attain. He knows the outcome and possible ramifications of our actions if we continue the course we are on. So, when we feel life bringing us down, we should ask ourselves: "How Am I Carrying My Load?"

Just Get Over It

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If you have ever been wronged by anyone, especially someone you think highly of, then you know that forgiveness is easier said than done. We sometimes feel the need to make the other person feel the pain that we feel, or at least make sure they know how upset we are. How many of those times have you later realized the situation that you were upset over was simply a misunderstanding? Many friendships have been strained and ended because the two sides did not have a clear understanding. Even when certain things are said or done out of spite, we should learn to let them go. Forgiveness is not just for the other person, it is mainly for us. Often times the person who has done us wrong has gone on with their life while we are still harboring negative energy. It can eventually affect the way we treat other people. I've heard many people say that they cheat on their partners because of how hey were treated in a previous relationship; or, they bring memories of what happened previously and accuse their significant other of doing things they are not. The best thing to do is to JUST GET OVER IT. I have personally let past relationships cause me not to desire entering anymore. I felt that all relationships would end the same. I had to realize that those women were going on enjoying their lives while I was depriving myself  of companionship. In essence, I was the only one suffering because of my unwillingness to forgive. We are not supposed to hold grudges against anyone. Jesus told the disciples in Luke 17:4, "If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' 'forgive him." We not only keep ourselves in bad moods by not forgiving others, we also block our blessings. God will not trust us with His "good and perfect" gifts if we do not possess the heart to treat it how He wants. The only way to be in a position to receive His gifts is to, "Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Colossians 3:12). Since it is impossible to possess these traits without having a forgiving heart, I guess we are forced to JUST GET OVER IT.

Tell me about a time that you have been wronged by someone you really cared for. How did it affect your relationship with that person? did you ever JUST GET OVER IT and forgive them?