Tuesday, 26 June 2012

I promise.

What happens when you break a promise?

Well, having been someone who has broken a few promises in her life, I can say with confidence that for the one who does the breaking... not a whole lot happens...initially. They move on, assumedly free from repercussions. Depending on the situation, there may be some guilty feelings accompanying the break, but ultimately, I've found promise breakers move on rather quickly.

But, having been the one on the receiving end of broken promises, I can tell you that the repercussions are deep, penetrating and painful. Beyond the possible physical 'inconveniences' that may accompany a broken promise, there are emotional ones too. Someone you counted on let you down. Ouch. That doesn't heal easily. Trust and integrity were compromised, and those two character traits don't bounce back with the two words, "I'm sorry".

We've all been there, at some point, haven't we? We've given our word, and for any number of excuses, have fallen short in following through. Ah, yes, but we have also all been on the receiving end of a broken promise. It hurts, doesn't it?

This is a recent experience of mine...three times over. In the last year, I have had three 'friends' make some important promises to me and all three of them broke them. Each time, it felt like they were saying, "You're not worth keeping my word for". It's surprising how quickly we want to accept the blame for other's mistakes, and make it about ourselves. But you can relate to the feelings... it hurts to have people let you down. What I want to focus on though is their responses to them breaking their word. Each of them responded very differently.

The first friend tried to change what the promise initially meant. "What I meant was .... , so I didn't actually really break it. No, I know that we both agreed beforehand, but...". There was an inability or unwillingness to face the truth that they didn't/couldn't follow through on their word.

The second friend and I lost contact for three months because of the unfulfilled words... until just this last week, when my friend showed up to apologize, take ownership, and attempted to follow through on promises as much as they were able to with what they had. A broken situation was redeemed because they were able to humble themselves, and make things right, even though it cost this person. Making things right was inconvenient, costly and difficult. But I am SO proud of my friend for setting this example for me. It's never too late to set things straight.

The third friend seems to have walked away guilt free, saying that the promises were made prematurely, and thus implying that no follow through was required.

All three of them gave me their word, and broke it, but their responses to the situation look completely different. As a result of their broken promises, my trust of them, and their integrity in my eyes was severely compromised.

But I wonder, what happens when you break a promise as it relates to your relationship to God? Does He care? He knows we’re human, but as believers, are we called to a higher account with our word? As believers, when we keep our word, we are being an example of God to others. God always keeps His word - He is always faithful. Our word matters. But {how} does not keeping your word affect your relationship with God?

I’ve been doing some reading about the importance of keeping your word. And I’ve come upon some very interesting views. Some people say it’s a sin to break a promise and you will be held accountable for every unfulfilled word. Others say that motive matters, and sometimes promises can’t be followed through on and that it’s okay.
What do you think?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

.:.character development.:.

Character development is essential to a good story. Do you have a favorite character? A Disney, Looneytoons, Star Wars or LOTR one, perhaps? When we see good character development (whether in a good or evil character)- we are drawn in. We are invited into a segment of their life, captivated by their circumstances and completely helpless but to watch how they respond. These characters are embodied or "put on" by actors who play the role convincingly. But at the end of the day, those actors go home, and are themselves. 

Character development is essential to a good person. Do you know people of good, strong character? A mentor, friend or family member perhaps? When we experience good character in others - we are drawn in. We are invitied to examine our own life, captivated by their conviction and completely empowered to watch and learn by how they respond.
What kind of character do you wear?
Make no mistake - even good character is something you put on. Colossians 3:12-17 tells us to put on a Christ-like character living out traits such as compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience BECAUSE we are God's chosen people. What we wear can help identify our allegiances. Emblems, logos and symbols speckle our clothing uniting us to something bigger. In the same way, our character is a testiment to who we submit ourselves to; we put on character traits that will associate us to something bigger.
Character. {Noun}
1. Moral or ethical quality.
2. Traits that form the individual nature of a person.
3. Qualities of honesty, courage and integrity.

Don't confuse character with reputation.
Character is what someone is;
reputation is what someone is thought to be by others.

"It is unfortunate that character development is not usually a section to fill out on a resume or university application, because we all know that it is one of the most important parts of any human. It will determine your successes, failures, relationships, and ministry to others more than your talents and abilities ever will." -Cheryl Crocker

What are you doing to develop your character?
Here are a few ideas to get you started thinking...
-Keep your word; don't make promises you can't keep.
-Develop as a person; grow your maturity spiritually, emotionally, mentally.
-Admit and learn from your mistakes; take ownership and make things right.
-Study and be shaped by the Word of God; The Bible teaches us about the best character!

"God doesn't say He dwells with the best singer or the one who preaches best or the one who has the best intellectual grasp of doctrine. He does say He dwells with those who walk uprightly and blamelessly and speak truth from the heart." -Cal MacFarlane

What are you spending your time developing?
Developing your God-given gifts is important to do... but if you don't develop your character, your gifts are an empty offering to the Lord. He cares more about the heart of the giver than the gifts themselves.

Character matters.
Character development is essential.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

guarding your heart

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." -Proverbs 4:23

Everything you do flows from it.

Every beautiful thing you have to offer this world stems from your heart.
Every negative thing you have to offer this world stems from your heart.
It's your choice.
What you allow into your heart is what will take root.
And what takes root is what will grow.
And what grows becomes the garden you glean from.
And what you glean is what you end up offering the world in return. 

Everything you do flows from your heart.

Make no mistake, your heart is under assault in this world.
They try to suffocate the beauty of your heart, and the life it wants to offer the world. If you allow their waters to wet your heart, you'll drown in a desperate attempt to believe the deceit that what you offer is beautiful.

For your heart to thrive, you will need to protect it, guard it, nurture it.
To guard your heart doesn't mean to put a fortress around it.

The image of a princess locked in a tower is a false understanding of protection.
True protection and true guards don't just block out the bad, they allow good to pass through too.

Make no mistake, your heart can recognize beauty.
They empower and encourage the beauty of your heart and the life it wants to offer the world. If you allow their waters to fall on your heart, you'll reap a harvest, and offering the world pieces of you will come naturally and easily from the overflow of your heart.

Guarding your heart.
Allow good to be received and given.
Let your heart breathe.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.