In last month’s blog, I talked about 4 Steps to Rising ABOVE Conflict. This month I’m introducing the first R in the Seven Biblical Principals to Rising Above Conflict to Make Peace and Transform Relationships.
The First R: RELY ON A HIGHER POWER, guides you to turn to a source that is greater than you for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed or conflicted. In Colossians 3:1-2 Paul says to, “Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” And, David wrote a beautiful song for the Lord when he was delivered from the hands of his enemies which are written in Psalm 18:2 “My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
What Does Rely on a Higher Power Mean? Relying on a higher power is putting faith in something greater and bigger than you. It means turning to the creator for help, guidance, healing, and restoration in your life. You were created by God. He knows you better than anyone. He knows what’s in the highest good for you and all concerned. When you surrender your will to His will and trust in Him, He will take care of you. When you set your heart and mind above, not on earthly things but of what is good and pure and take refuge in the Lord, you can rise above the conflict and overwhelm. God can give you the strength to get through the storms. His wisdom, guidance, and grace will bring you through the trials and tribulations of life. He will protect you and deliver you from your enemies. He will love you, pick you up when you fall; heal you, and change in you what you cannot change, and make you new.
How Do You Rely On a Higher Power? You rely on a higher power by opening up your heart and inviting the Spirit of God to come inside and work in you. Only the ONE that created you can work in you and through you for your highest good and the good of others. As the Holy Spirit works inside of you, He changes you from the inside out. He gives you a new heart and a new mind. He creates a paradigm shift in your reality. Stephen Covey talks about a paradigm shift in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Our paradigms represent how we view the world. What we see isn’t a completely accurate reflection of reality; it is shaped by our attitudes and perceptions. A paradigm shift occurs when our paradigms change, allowing us to see the world in new light. In other words, you can’t resolve conflict or heal an issue by staying in the same place that created it. You have to shift it. For instance, if you’re feeling angry, conflicted, and or overwhelmed, you can’t obtain peace and feel conflicted at the same time. You must change the feelings in your heart. That’s easier said than done, right? How well I know from my own experiences in life. A simple way to change the feelings in your heart is by creating a paradigm shift in your reality. Practice viewing the situation or the person you are frustrated with from a new light. One way to do this is by inviting the Holy Spirit into your heart, into your relationships, and or into your life so that He can work “in” you to change you. Here’s a simple tip for inviting the Holy Spirit into your heart.
Tip for Inviting the Holy Spirit into Your Heart
- Practice applying the 4 Steps to Rising Above Conflict which are,
Step 1: Be Aware of How You Feel.
Step 2: Step Out of the Overwhelm.
Step 3: Make a Choice to Change Your Attitude.
Step 4: Seek Higher Ground.
2. Take a few deep breaths in and exhale. Let go of all tension and stress.
3. Simply invite the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Creator, or whatever it is for you, to be present inside of you. Here’s a simple prayer. “Lord, please come into my heart, mind, and spirit and change in me what I cannot change in myself, in my situation, and in the other person. Guide me in what to do or say. Give me hope, help me to forgive, show me peace. Bless me that I may see the situation and or the other person through your eyes; through eyes of compassion, forgiveness, grace, mercy, understanding, and love. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
As the Holy Spirit works in you, you will begin to see with new eyes and your paradigm will shift. This will enable you to rise above the circumstance, the conflict, the suffering and the pain so you can move towards healing, forgiveness, peace, resolution, reconciliation, and love. Relying on God’s love and strength to shift your paradigm empowers you. Allowing fear, worry, anger, and blame to continue to rule your heart, dis-empowers you. God has shifted my paradigm countless times and He has healed me, delivered me, forgiven me, and empowered me over and over again. Here’s my personal testimony of how I relied on God’s strength to get me through a difficult time in my life.
Read about My Personal Testimony in Practicing the First R: Rely on a Higher Power
My Testimony is about an incident that happened to our son that caused me to feel conflicted. I debated over and over in my mind if I should share my testimony. My heart told me to confess the greatness God is doing in my life, in me, and in our son as a result of having gone through it. My head, however, told me if I did, people will judge me and or my family. After thoughtful prayer and getting the ‘okay’ from our son to share his story (testimony), I decided to listen to my heart and write about it. Not the details about him or of the incident but of my personal thoughts and feelings as a mother going through the experience; and not as a victim but being empowered by God and shifting my paradigm.
A little over a year ago, our son, who was seven at the time, was exposed to pornography by simply typing in the word “naked” into the Internet. A curious seven-year-old boy wanted to know what naked meant. My husband and I were shocked of what our son had been exposed to. We addressed the seriousness with our son of what he had seen and tried to explain to him, the best two concerned parents knew how to do under the circumstance at the time. After many months had gone by, I thought our family had gotten through this difficult incident and our son was okay. I was wrong. I didn’t understand the effects of pornography until I researched it. 93% of all boys are exposed to pornography on the Internet. I didn’t grow up with the Internet as a child and the Internet wasn’t available like it is today when my two adult children were younger. Pornography is a new concern for me today as a parent in the 21st Century. I’d heard about things like this happening to families before but never did I expect it to happen to my family.
At first, I was in denial about what was happening to our son. I thought if he or we didn’t talk about the incident, it would all just go away. Perhaps you too have experienced being in denial about something that happened to you or your family. I wasn’t willing to see the truth; I didn’t want to face my fear. Later on, our son began to openly confess to his father and me (which is good that he felt safe to come to us) about some of the vivid images he came across and how it was affecting his thoughts. As I listened to my child explain what he’d seen, my heart broke. What parent wants the innocence of their child to be lost from being prematurely exposed to inappropriate sexual images that are confusing, over stimulating and morally wrong for a child his age or anyone in my belief? Not ME! I felt helpless. I felt guilty for not catching it sooner. I felt ashamed of our son’s curiosity. I felt ashamed as a mother that he was going through this. Of course, these were all my own judgments. Mine and mine alone.
What do you do, as a parent, when you’re faced with something like this?
This incident was certainly beyond my human powers to cope with. I didn’t know what to say to our son, how to act towards him or how to help him. I love our son with all of my heart. I would do anything to help him. If you’re a parent, you know what I’m talking about. I wished that I could take away all that he had seen and what he was feeling and going through. But I couldn’t. It isn’t in my power to take away what he’s going through. I know this logically but emotionally, I felt devastated. So, I turned to God for help and guidance. I simply and humbly prayed for help. I prayed over my son at night when he went to bed by reading prayers from a book called, The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. I prayed for him in the morning before school and I taught my son to turn to God for help by praying and asking to take away the dark thoughts and images. Our son asked Jesus to help him follow the light and not the darkness. I believe there is POWER in PRAYER.
I finally recognized I had to surrender the situation and our son over to God for help and guidance. And, I had to face my fears and surrender my judgments of what other people would think. I knew I had to put my trust in God that He has a greater purpose in what our son and family were going through. And, that He would lead and guide me and my husband to help and support our son in the way that is in the highest good for him. I now see this incident, not as bad but rather as an opportunity for our son and our family to grow from together and to grow closer to God. And we have.
I know I can’t control the choices our son will make in his life. I can, however, take responsibility right now as his parent and face my own fears, stop being a victim from the incident, and shift my reality. I chose to see this incident as a learning opportunity to teach our son the importance of seeking help, support and wise counsel from his parents and from God. I also saw this incident as a learning opportunity for me to be empowered by God and to grow closer to Him, my son, and my family as a result of having gone through it together.
God reminds us in James 5:16 to confess our sins to one another, and pray for one another, that we may be healed. At first, I felt alone and ashamed of what our family had been through and I didn’t want to tell anyone. But later on, I discovered I’m not alone. Another mom spoke up and confessed that her family has been faced with the same incident and shared their struggles. How many moms/parents out there have felt dis-empowered by an event or something in the past that happened to them or their family? I encourage you to turn to a higher power for help, to talk to a close friend or someone who’s been through what you have, and to pray for each other.
Through my endless prayers and my son’s prayers, we experienced a beautiful healing “God moment.” Here’s what happened. Our son wanted to download the S.O.S. radio application, a local Christian radio station, onto his cell. My husband and I both listen to S.O.S. radio station in our vehicles. We love to listen to the uplifting and positive music as we drive around town. Our son said he wanted to be able to listen to positive and encouraging music at home too. After the S.O.S. application was downloaded, we listened to some songs. Enthusiastically, my son says to me, “Mom, it says something on here.” I looked. A passage from the bible popped up onto the screen. I suggested he read it, and he did! Then I suggested he look up the passage in his new bible he’d just gotten. This was the first time he’d ever looked up a scripture. He’d never really been interested in reading the bible let alone look up a passage from it. He also read two prayer requests that were on the S.O.S. screen. I sensed the compassion in his voice for the people as he read their story aloud. So, I suggested we pray for them together, and we did.
As I reflected on the God moment with our son, I realized that the creator was already healing, blessing, and working in him. I felt such joy. I don’t know what God has in store for our son but somehow I feel He is going to use him to help other kids who are going through what he’s been through. I know with all of my heart, mind, and soul that teaching our son to turn to God and rely on His strength has already made an impact on his personal testimony of God’s love for him. I also taught our son how to rise above the conflict and chaos and how to make peace inside. Currently, me and our son, are working on a project together to help kids who have gone through what he has. God is good!