What You Really Learn About that Loathsome Person (Guest Post: #Empowered by the Spiritual Life)

Posted By Tammy Hendricksmeyer on Oct 21, 2015 | 2 comments


Guest Post: by Susan Stilwell

 

{I remember when I first met Susan Stillwell, in Diane Bailey’s hotel room at Allume last year. Obviously, we were a dangerous group with one bed consisting of Caryn Jenkinson, Amy Breitmann, Susan, and me, huddled together. The other half of the room, Diane, Lindsey Hartz (mine and Amy’s roommate), Shelly Miller, Jennifer Lee, and Emily Wierenga, crowded ’round the other bed. Lots of laughter ensued. Too much. So much so, security knocked on our door. Which of course, called for more (quieter) laughter.

 

Sadly, many of us didn’t make it back to Allume this year. But I’m happy to have Susan here today, guest posting. Part of being empowered by the spiritual life means loving people with every last nerve in us. It means accepting sand-paper folks. After all, we’re someone else’s gritty, grainy raw-ness.  

 

Please welcome Susan!}

 

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Only one seat remained at the table, the seat next to Abbie. Not only was I late to the meeting but now I had to sit beside its chairman, one of the bossiest and long-winded women I’d ever met.

 

“So glad you could join us,” she smirked. Me too, I thought as I forced a tense smile and slipped in beside her. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be than listening to you for the next two hours…

 

We all have them: people who get under our skin.

 

empowered by the spiritual life2 meredith bernards photo for

 

Maybe it’s a coworker who doesn’t pull his or her weight on a project, and then points fingers when there’s a missed deadline. It might be a family member who delights in antagonizing you and pushing your buttons. Or a committee member who’s bossy, arrogant and loves to hold court and hear herself talk.

 

I heard someone once refer to these people as EGRs – Extra Grace Required.

 

And they do. I know Jesus has a never ending supply of grace, but I don’t. I avoid them whenever possible.

 

But life (or the Lord) keeps bringing them across my path.

 

I used to prayerfully complain, reminding the Lord of how irritating they are and asking Him to deliver me from all my dealings with them. He never answered those prayers and instead chided me with His word:

 

“If you love those who love you,
what benefit is that to you? …
But love your enemies, and do good,
and lend, expecting nothing in return …
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
~Luke 6:32a, 35a, 36 (esv)

 

“Enemy” is a pretty strong word to describe someone in your circle of influence, and it’s certainly not Christlike. A better word, no doubt coined by a sweet Southerner, is “frenemy.”

 

I found I could go through the motions with my frenemy—being nice, holding my tongue, not joining in the conversation/gossip. I had the right actions, but I didn’t have the right attitude. My heart toward her stayed hard, and so the Holy Spirit kept convicting me:

 

LOVE your enemies/frenemies… LOVE THEM.

 

My wrestling with the concept led me to an interesting place: Psalm 139. David’s personal psalm of praise took on a whole new meaning when the Holy Spirit convicted me to insert my frenemy’s name for my own:

 

[My frenemy is] fearfully and wonderfully made…
[Her] frame was not hidden from you,
when [she] was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw [her] unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for [her]…
~Psalm 139:14-16 (esv)

 

Ouch. Instead of praying and asking the Lord to deliver me from this annoying frenemy, I saw that she was just as precious to God as I am. That He ordained her days just as He ordained mine, and some of those days were to intersect with mine.

 

He chose to cross our paths so I could show her the love of Jesus. Not just tolerate her—going through the motions of being a good Christian—but to have the right heart toward her. To LOVE.

 

I began praying for her. The prayers were rote and halfhearted at first, but as I continued confessing God’s Word about her and lifting her before His throne of grace, I began seeing her through new eyes. Through His loving eyes.

 

I wish I could share a great testimony of how I shared Jesus with her and how He changed her and made her sweet and nice. And how we became BFFs.

 

But I can’t. She’s still bossy and arrogant and hasn’t changed much.

 

But I have. Showing the love of Jesus to her continues to be a process and it’s often challenging, but it is possible.

 

To be merciful to her as He is merciful to me. To show love and extend grace, an extra measure, because that’s what she needs. And so do I.

 

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Susan StillwellSusan Stilwell makes her home in the Virginia mountains. A passionate teacher of God’s Word and a rabid scripture-memorizer, Susan is a walking & talking example of the power of God’s word to infuse life with grace, peace and joy. On any given day, you can find her sharing truth, offering hope and finding joy in the chaos of life. She’s an event speaker, writer & lover of The Word. Visit her at www.susanstilwell.com. You can also find her at Fistbump Media, LLC, where she stays busy as a web designer.

 

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As part of the #Write31Days series, I’m writing everyday. However, I’m not publicly publishing every day. But I will be posting more often, 4 times a week, Monday-Thursday. You may find mistakes such as grammar or spelling errors. It’s the conversations that matter, right? Feel free to share your thoughts too. 

 

To find the whole series, click here–Empowered by the Spiritual Life.

2 Comments

  1. This is a wonderful post! Thank you Susan for sharing. We all have those people that test our ability to choose a good answer! Learning to pray for my frenemy is a good answer!

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  2. Ok, so OUCH…..I hardly ever click on blogs from the Facebook news page. Think God is trying to get my attention? He uses Susan to get to me frequently. Thanks, Susan, once again for allowing God to prick my heart with your words.

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