Yesterday I talked to a woman whose life has been turned upside down because of her husband’s recent choices. It’s easy to get discouraged or even feel hopeless when another person’s choices change the course of what you and I thought our futures (or our loved one’s futures) would look like. For many years, I thought the harmful or hurtful decisions of others determined my destiny. This messed up thinking gave unhealthy people way too much control in my life. It also kept me from trusting God with my future.
A few years ago I was upset and discouraged over some choices a loved one had made that affected me. As I was praying for comfort and wisdom the following came to mind:
What do we do when other’s choices change our lives?
Be Real-Sometimes we think being godly means we can’t have negative emotions. I have learned the hard way that not acknowledging anger keeps us from working through issues and healing. Tell God all about your anger, hurts, and disappointments. Be real with Him. He can take it! He knows what is in your heart. He wants to talk with you, walk with you through the storm, and heal your wounds.
Believe-You and I need to always be aware that God loves us and has our best interests in mind. Believing in God’s unconditional love will open us up to hear His heart and to receive all He has for us.
Recognize-You and I need to know that although someone else’s choices might have caused a shift, and things might not look the way we thought they would, the plans and purposes (destinies) God has for us as individuals have not changed.
Shift our eyes-Instead of staring at the messes, you and I need to set our sights on the Lord, the maker of Heaven and earth. Keeping our eyes on Him will keep the enemy from tormenting our minds.
Remember-When we are hurting, it’s easy to feel as if we are victims. Although circumstances resulting from another’s choices might bring suffering, those choices are also an opportunity for growth. In the midst of suffering, you and I must always remember that through Christ we are “more than conquerors.” (Romans 8:37).
Forgive-Holding onto unforgiveness will only hinder us. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). You and I must not allow him to steal from us more than he already has. We all sin, but some choices have greater consequences and cause more pain than others. Most wrong choices are often a result of deeper heart issues. When we are hurting, it’s hard for us to see someone else’s pain. As we give the ones who have hurt us to God and pray for the healing of their hearts, our hearts will receive healing as well.
Take responsibility-Sometimes we might have been part of the problem that resulted in choices others have made that have hurt us. While it is important to own up to our behaviours so we can continue to grow, it is equally important not to take responsibility for another’s choices.
Align-When you and I have been hurt by someone’s choices it’s easy to make agreement with lies—lies about God, ourselves, and others. Praying, studying the Word, and receiving wise counsel from other believers, displaces the lies and aligns us with truth.
Grieve-When choices bring loss, we have to grieve the loss so we can go on. Some losses take longer to work through. God understands. You and I mustn’t be hard on ourselves for grieving. Denial can keep the door open for the enemy to continue to rob from us. The Lord draws close to the broken-hearted. Let Him comfort you.
Release-Although it might not feel like it, God is in control. Release your burdens to Him and stand on the promises in His Word. He will bring good out of what the enemy has intended for evil.
Give-When our worlds feel as though they are falling apart it’s easy to make everything about us. Giving of ourselves helps us to be thankful, see more clearly, and reminds us that we have purpose.
Walk in peace-When you and I feel controlled or helpless it is easy to say or do things that we will later regret. Continuous fellowship with God quiets our spirits and gives us peace that passes understanding.
Life can be hard, but God is good. If you are walking through the valley of betrayal, abandonment, or loss because of another’s choices, remember that the Lord is with you. If you put your faith and trust in Him, He will restore what has been stolen from you. Others may hurt you, but they do not have power over you. Always keep in mind that the only person who can keep you from fulfilling the call of God on your life is you!
Be abundantly blessed!
Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (NLT).
Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.’ ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you’, says the Lord. ‘I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes'” (NLT).
Revelation 3:8 “I know all things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close….” (NLT).
“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” (Romans 8:37).