One of the things that is making life easier is my recent decision to assign God to be the only one I answer to, as opposed to myself or the person I’m talking to. With tendencies toward amiableness (which I like to call being a chameleon), I can easily agree with the reasoning or opinions of those around me. So if I’m with A, their way of seeing things might make sense, and then if I’m with B, their reasoning might make sense. Now, this might not seem like such a bad thing. Oftentimes, the world likes to call this being “open minded” or a “peacemaker.” But there’s a saying that says if we’re too open minded, our brains will fall out. And that’s how it feels sometimes when I try to accommodate everybody’s thoughts and opinions, including my own. Trying to placate everyone is not a peaceful feeling, and, I’ve found, it creates anything but peace in relationships.
The Bible addresses this very issue when it says to not be double-minded (James 1:7). The way not to be double-minded is to look to God first for His take on every opinion, worldview, situation and decision. That means we replace wanting to please or appease others with obedience to God.
In my marriage, as I’ve been answering to God first, my husband and I have been growing spiritually because there is much more accountability to living Biblically, as opposed to selfishly. With my kids, I am allowing God to guide or admonish, as the case may be, and find that I am relating to them on a much steadier and confident level. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
With friends and extended family, I am practicing speaking honestly (as God directs) and am no longer hiding the fact that I’m a Christian. The result is that the resentment I used to feel after family visits disappears because I’m no longer beating myself up for once again denying my Lord.
When it’s God’s perspective, arrived at by being quick to listen but slower to answer so that we can give things over to God in prayer (even just a quick “God, speak your words right now”), through reading the Bible, and taking time to discern what He would have us say or do, everybody wins. Even if our answer or decision isn’t what the other person wants to hear, when we back it up with how we arrived there through God, it’s pretty hard to argue with. Then we must all trust that God will bless the decisions and situations in His way and timing.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” James 1:5-8