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

 

Honey Dips – Freetown

The deep disgust that most of us feel toward slavery is indicative of our support of freedom and justice. We can’t support a system that treats others as if they are property. We can’t support a system that keeps man in bondage, separates him from his family and exposes him to extreme cruelties. Our God is opposed to slavery as well and we clearly observe this in the account of Moses and Aaron who were commissioned to lead the Israelites into freedom, out of the bondage imposed by Pharaoh.

The lives of the Israelites were made bitter with hard service, with mortar and brick. (Exodus 1: 14). Pharaoh ruthlessly overworked them and they were abused, oppressed and degraded. Still, God had a plan to deliver them from Egyptian bondage.

There are many different forms of slavery that plague our world and lives today. Many are slaves to depression, procrastination, harmful substances. Some are slaves to the mind games and battles that occur within; others are slaves to investments, achievements, entertainment and pleasure. But, just as He offered the Israelites a way of escape out of slavery in the days of old, God offers us a way of escape from our varied enslaving “masters” at the beginning of a new year. He has been nudging us to boldly take a leap of faith and trust Him more than the comfort of our bondages; He has been calling us to return to Him in 2013, but fear triumphed over faith, every time and in this new year He will continue His relentless pursuit to help us to choose and embrace His offered freedom.

I encourage you to respond to the call in love for there is real freedom in God. Freedom from addictions, the mind games, the self-defeating habits and behaviors, the fears, the mini-gods.  Freedom from any giant the devil can and will throw your way. Let us not spend a new year complaining, blaming or comparing ourselves to others….let us take a journey with God to a place of blissful freedom. On your journey, expect giants…don’t lose faith…the giants are there to strengthen your faith muscle; expect rejection from some (consider John 15: 18 – 20); expect some growing pains….there is no growth without discomfort…we will be stretched and strengthened but most of all, expect to be delivered by God.

May you develop patience to trust God’s timing to deliver you ….. God doesn’t always remove us from our prisons or crucibles on our time table. May you confidently live in trust, always expecting God to deliver you because He has done that in the past. May you journey with God in peace because “our price has been paid by our Savior. No one need be enslaved by Satan. Christ stands before us as our all-powerful helper.” Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, Book 1, page 309. May you not only be freed but come out stronger and wiser too.

Freedom in Christ is yours in 2014; I dare you to journey with God and claim it!

 Question: What changes must you make in your life in order to develop a closer walk with God? What prevents you from taking a leap of faith and trusting Him to deliver you? What habits must you cultivate as you journey with Him on Freedom’s Road?

 Prayer: Lord, give me the courage to trust you more than the habit or situation that enslaves me.

P.S. Share with me your freedom story if you have been delivered from that which previously enslaved you.

– Dee

(c) 2013, Dentrecia Blanchette

Honey Flow – UpWord by Ellen G. White – New Year Resolution

This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Philippians 3:13-15.

Yesterday was Christmas. Did you do as the Wise Men did by offering your gifts to Jesus? Or has the enemy changed the order of things, and directed the worship to himself? The gifts are now bestowed upon friends instead of Him who has made so great a sacrifice for us. All the gifts should flow in another channel, where they could be used in the salvation of men.

The new year is just before us. Shall not the gifts be turned to a better account than heretofore? Shall not confession be made and shall we not avail ourselves of the blood of Christ, who is able and willing to cleanse from all sin? For our sakes Christ became poor.

In the last great day we shall be judged in accordance with what we have done. Christ will say, “I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?” (Matthew 25:42-44). Christ will then say, “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me” (Verse 45). And Christ will say, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Verse 41).

Christ came and set the example in sacrificing, and if we are Christ’s, then we will do the works of Christ. Instead of pleasing ourselves, we will be seeking to do others good, and to impart benefits to suffering humanity. And unless this is done, we cannot expect to have a part with Christ.

There are souls to be saved all around us, and each has a work to do to be reconciled to Christ. This is the work to take hold of in the new year. We are living for time and eternity, and we want the light to flash upon our pathway and in return we want to extend its blessings to others….

Let each strive to have a better record for the coming year, and live so near to God that you may be surrounded with the atmosphere of heaven, and thus be a representative of Christ.—Manuscript 60, December 26, 1886, a sermon preached in the Tramelan, Switzerland, town hall, John Vuilleumier translating.

Honey Dips – The Best Gift

No matter how many ideal gifts we purchase during the season for our loved ones, no earthly gift can compare to the gift that God gave the entire human race, over 2000 years ago.

God sent His only Son to come to this earth to die that we unfaithful humans might have a chance to live with hope. Perfection, Jesus, came into our world to give us, corrupted humans, divine help. Jesus gave up His royalty and glory in Heaven for woe and misery on this earth to reach out to us as humans. By becoming man, God demonstrated that humans matter and His love is not too deep, good or perfect to offer to us.

I’m thankful that God sent us a gift even before we could truly appreciate the gift and today, out of all the grand, exotic gifts we can purchase for ourselves and receive, that gift is still the best gift given to humanity.

This Christmas take some time to offer thanks to God for sending Christ to this earth, for choosing a humble virgin like Mary, for fulfilling the promise He made since the beginning of time and for being faithful and loving enough to offer us the gift of love daily.

Don’t allow indifference like that exhibited by the Pharisees when Jesus was born to be your response to Jesus this Christmas. Don’t allow Jesus to get lost in the busyness or under the Christmas tree or in the meals we consume. Accept His birth. Celebrate His life. Relinquish the throne of your heart to Him. Give Him your heart and best that you own, like the three wise men. Acknowledge Him as your King. Make Him your Savior. Celebrate His priestly role on your behalf in Heaven.

This Christmas the best gift you can give yourself is a recommitted relationship with Christ. That relationship will bring peace, joy and love into your life like nothing else on this earth. This Christmas the best gift you can give your loved ones is love. That love can transform, heal and change even the most wretched of humans. This Christmas, as you unwrap your gifts, remember the best gift given to Humanity – Jesus!

“Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel”

– Dee

(c) 2013, Dentrecia Blanchette