Handling my Saul

Many times, a dream job can become a nightmare because of a toxic boss.

This is my experience and like many believers who are working in corporate nightmares and war zones of some type, every day, I make a choice to figure out a way to manage my bad boss. It takes effort but I allow the same Spirit of God that protected David while he was working in the courts of Saul, to provide me with the best coping strategies to make it through the day.

You would recall that after David had defeated Goliath, he was entrusted with important responsibilities in Saul’s royal household. While there, he served with integrity and modesty and quickly earned the affection of those around him including Saul. “Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.” (1 Samuel 18:5 NIV)

But God’s blessing on David and his favor among the people of Israel quickly led Saul to become jealous and angry. And as his hatred increased, he looked for opportunities to take David’s life. Still even amidst Saul’s negative influence, not once are we told that David gave in to or gossiped about Saul and the injustices that he experienced under his leadership. But time and time again, we see a young man, showing tremendous empathy, respect and value for the life of a tortured leader.

David’s formula has helped me to cope with my own Saul.

Before leaving my apartment, I ask the Holy Spirit to take charge of my emotions. On my way to work, I also ask God to create an opportunity for me to minister to my leader because God cares about toxic bosses too.

I also make a choice to show empathy and understanding rather than bitterness and judgement. For, like David, I cannot allow a difficult leader to distract me from being the person God wants me to be in this season, so that I cannot serve Him even more faithfully in the next.

Love,

Dee

(C) 2018, Dentrecia Blanchette

Emotional Discipline

Emotional discipline is the habit of surrendering our emotions to God so that we can receive help us to reflect our emotions in honest and healing ways. It’s a habit that defined the life of Daniel and it allowed him to process his emotions constructively even when faced with experiences that threatened to derail him.

When we read Daniel 6, it’s clear that even when Daniel’s life was in danger when his jealous peers arranged his downfall, he remained in control of his emotions. He didn’t act out of character. He didn’t fight the accusations with his own wit. He didn’t try to manipulate his way out of the wicked plan; but rather, he remained calm and continued to fully submit himself to God through prayer.

I believe Daniel’s ability to keep his emotions in check resulted from his spiritual discipline. We know from the start of Daniel’s story, that his faith set him apart. And it was his faith that granted him favor, even with supervisors/rulers. “Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm” (Daniel 6: 3).

Three times a day he prayed to God in his chambers. Even when Darius the king passed the lion den’s decree, Daniel, calmly continued to submit himself to God and offer his petitions to heaven, in his hours of prayer. Even when he received honor by those above him, He remained fully God’s.

I believe it was Daniel’s daily submission to God through prayer that allowed him to exercise control over his emotions. It was his faithful connection to heaven that allowed him not to lose his cool when he was in a less than favorable situation.

Whenever I am tempted to wonder how can I gain victory over my emotions or how can I develop emotional discipline in this situation that is draining me spiritually and emotionally, I consider Daniel’s approach.

I plug into prayer and meditation; because I can only win emotionally when I am connected to God spiritually.

Love,

Dee

(c) 2018, Dentrecia Blanchette

I almost walked away 

A few days ago, I almost walked away from this ministry.

I was reviewing the ministry’s marketing analytics (trends, traffic, likes), on all of our platforms and the results were discouraging and disappointing. From the statistics…we weren’t doing well.

In my heart, I believed that the statistics reflected a lack of special anointing on this space and I felt like not only had I had failed myself but I had failed God too in a ministry that He had entrusted to me.

I related to the gardener mentioned in Luke 13: 6 – 9 who after inspecting his fig tree that was not producing fruit for three years, decided to “chop it down!”

Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”

God funnily used my partner to speak wisdom into my life as he challenged me to consider the statistics through different lenses.

He asked me; “Have you considered doing things differently?”

Many times, failure in our eyes is a simple invitation to do things differently or challenge our approach that we may have become used to.

But no amount of wisdom can top God’s as God whispered to me after I prayed:

Let’s give it another year.

I knew from His response even though it didn’t make sense, my duty was to obediently continue pouring into this ministry.

Sometimes, our expectations for ministry do not pan out as we envision. We dutifully sow seeds of our talent and time into a person, space or place that God has assigned us to…only to reap nothing or gain nothing in return.

And it hurts, because the natural man, expects a return on investment in everything he dedicates himself to.

My mind drifts to Noah who preached for 120 years without any inclination that what he was delivering was reaching the hearts and minds of those around him. Instead of conviction, he was met with opposition and ridicule…still with faith alone, he continued to preach God’s warning.

Sometimes, our only reason for continuing a project, calling or task is simple obedience. And this is what God desires – our obedience.

Moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy” (I Corinthians 4:2).

And faithfulness to God may not always strike a responsive chord in your audience or manifest itself in increased likes, shares and retweets; it may simply just generate a nod from God.

And that approval is everything.

What I particularly like about Noah’s testimony and dance with momentary failure is that the Noah who began building the ark at the beginning of his assignment, was a completely different Noah at the end of the assignment.

 He was a righteous man; the only blameless man to walk the earth at that time.

Sometimes, the assignment is not for us to build the kingdom of God externally but rather for the task, project or calling to build us up internally instead.

What has your brush with ‘failure’ revealed to you this week? Is it time to reassess your way of working and doing things? Is it time to focus solely on being obedient to God or cultivate a thankful heart for what He is doing in you to better manifest Himself through you?

Let me know!
Love

Dee

(C) 2017, Dentrecia Blanchette

Disagree – agreeably and healthily? 

A disagreement is about learning more about yourself and your partner. It is not about winning.

And I am slowly learning that conflict is a necessary evil for it serves as the refiner’s fire in which we are confronted with our fears, blind spots, and selfishness.

Relationships (good or bad) are magnifying glasses that highlight our differences and they are tools that can help us to learn how to love and cherish our partners better and learn of the areas that we have to surrender to God through prayer.

Today, my relationship served as a magnifying glass.

I found myself in a petty, heated discussion with my partner about minor issues. I was riled up on the other end of the conversation before I realized that I was displacing my frustration with my current crucible on my partner.

Sorry B.

I had to pause and tap into my emotional tank to appreciate that the disagreement was about learning more of myself, the power I had given my current crucible and where my partner was emotionally and spiritually.

This disagreement was not about winning.

And as petty and minor as these heated discussions or disagreements may appear, they are powerful enough to create incredible damage to the trust, safety, romance and longevity of any relationship, if they continue for a consistent amount of time.

So how can we prevent relational causalities from taking place when our thoughts differ from those of our partners?

Relax.

When something is said to us, our emotions become highly aroused and we transition into fight or flight modes. This probably explains why most persons aggressively stonewall their partner or ignore the problem or shut down (flight) or defensively throw stones at their partners through hurtful, critical, snide words or actions (fight).

It is always best to relax and calm ourselves, collect our thoughts and decide on a loving approach to handling the issue at hand.
And, relaxing ourselves takes different forms for many of us. A few months ago, my partner shared that he sometimes asks for time to respond to heated discussions so that he can relax and pray. That is his way of centering himself. I practice deep breathing and scriptural affirmations. The approach you use to pause and relax yourself in a God-approved way, prevents you from saying and committing unnecessary words and actions in the moment of conflict.

Listen warmly to what is said and what is not said.

One thing I have learnt during my current relationship is that what is being fought about is just as important as how you are fighting and those two are just as important as the place your partner is arguing from. It is important to remain sensitive to where your partner is coming from.

Try to listen to your partner’s feelings. Appreciate that all conflict stems from a root and sometimes you have to be the bigger person and dig deep within the emotional lagoon of your partner and ask them how they are feeling in the moment.

It may be something that they are not sharing with you that is frustrating and bothering them and through the common act of displacement they are directing their unwanted and unresolved emotions on you.

Knowing where your partner is coming from emotionally can shift your perspective on the entire disagreement.

Check your motivation.

As much as you are to check the place that your partner may be speaking and responding from, it is critical that you assess the place that you are coming from? How are you feeling in this moment? Will the words you choose help or hurt the situation? Is healing or wholeness the motive for confronting your partner or being right and winning to gain an emotional upper hand, your motivation?

Check your motivation and attitude.

Choose your emotion.

Just as conflict is inevitable; it also always presents choices: Will I be defensive or receptive? Humble or self-righteous? Merciful or stubborn?

How we choose to respond determines if we will strengthen the relationship or further chip at its core.

Choose to respond from a place of love and not a place of fear, anger, control or criticism.

Advice from a wise-head

My dad recently shared with me that sometimes we wait until we are in marriage to actually appreciate the role healthy relationships play in our lives. But even before marriage, relationships, especially committed, public ones, are sermons.

Everything that a couple does is a message to the world about God’s love.

I have considered this thought and have been asking myself every now and again, “What message is my relationship preaching to those watching?” What is my relationship saying about God’s ability to work in two different people to operate in love and as one, even when it is not convenient or beneficial? How is my relationship blessing others as it is blessing my life?”

Recognizing that my relationship is more about God than myself, propels me to fight and argue, well and warmly with my partner because THIS is for the glory of God.

Advice from the Word

God’s word also shines light on how we can engage with our partners better while we experience emotional disruptions.

The following scriptural affirmations have guided me and kept me accountable to God’s standard of love when differences surface in my relationship:

Affirmation: I will speak to my partner respectfully and lovingly.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29

Affirmation: I will not allow my anger or frustration to control me.

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27

Affirmation: I will not seek revenge or engage in any form of pettiness or savagery against the one I love.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 ESV

Affirmation: My experience and education may serve as good guides in healthily handling conflict but God is the greatest guide.

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:6 ESV

Affirmation: I will not run away from facing issues with my partner. When the time is right and my emotions are settled, we will address the issues together.

Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. Matthew 5:25-26

Love,

Dee

(C) 2017, Dentrecia Blanchette