Friday, February 22, 2019

Fighting Bitterness After Unwanted Changes




By: Sarah Geringer


Change is hard anytime, but when you don't ask for it at all, bitterness offers you a free sample. I used to work at Baskin Robbins, and we freely gave customers samples of ice cream on tiny pink spoons. After a recent trial, I imagine the enemy Satan offering me a sample of Bitterness Bonanza, apparently the flavor of the month in my world.

Why would any of us in our right minds accept that nasty sample?

I think bitterness after unwanted change soothes our craving for revenge. Maybe we can't get even with whoever or whatever dumped junk on us. But we can hide our resentment inside, savoring it a little every day, to make ourselves feel like justice has been served.

I'm sure you know that bitterness isn't good for you. Savoring that bitterness drives us away from God and places us in the enemy's camp. That's why the enemy offers it to us on a pretty pink spoon, pretending that it won't hurt us (especially if we don't tell anyone).

Eewww...what a yucky place to be! Let's acknowledge that at least once in our lives, we've not accepted only a tiny spoonful of Bitterness Bonanza--we've ordered a double scoop of it and enjoyed every bite. I'm going first in admitting that today. I'm offering you a sweet scoop of encouragement from God's Word to replace that bitter taste.

Here are the must-do's on my list to turn away from bitterness and to turn toward spiritual health, based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NLT.

1. Trust that God is in charge.
"For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven." Eccl. 3:1

God knows the starting and ending points of our unwanted changes, before they ever begin. I am finding comfort in knowing that God is never surprised, caught off guard, or shocked like I am at unwanted changes. He ordains the timing of all the events in my life, and that fact brings me peace.

2. Take time to heal.
"A time to kill and a time to heal."  Eccl. 3:3a
Unwanted change can be traumatic, particularly if it's the end of a long-standing commitment. It can cause a wound in your spirit. Those type of wounds won't heal overnight. God will provide the time for the wound to heal, and we can't rush it. We must allow it to take place naturally so we can be stronger in our spiritual health.

3. Grieve the loss. 
"A time to grieve and a time to dance." Eccl. 3:4b
You may be familiar with the grieving process: denial, bargaining, anger, sadness, and acceptance. You can't get to acceptance without going through those stages after unwanted changes. Lately I've been praying and asking God to forgive me for my angry thoughts. But I heard him tell me, "You need to get angry to be able to get over this." I'm taking my angry thoughts to him and limiting how much I share them with others to get past this time of loss.

4. Start searching for a new answer.
"A time to search and a time to quit searching." Eccl. 3:6a
The good thing about unwanted change? You can find a healthy outlet for your negative energy by pursuing something new. That's what I'm doing now. I'm not putting any more energy into searching for answers to "why" questions. I'm focusing on a new search, and it keeps me headed toward the bright horizon of hope.

5. Remember a time of peace awaits.
"A time for war and a time for peace." Eccl. 3:8b
Unwanted change can feel like a battle. For the past few weeks I've been engaged in a battle, doing everything I could to stop the unwanted change from happening. Yet God has made the endpoint clear, and he's specifically calling me to lay down my sword and shield and retreat to his places of refuge. He has promised that a time of peace will follow this battle. Right now I'm meditating on Psalm 18, which always brings me comfort and peace during and after my trials. I hope it helps you too.

I studied Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 in depth when I wrote Newness of Life: Trusting God in Times of Transition. You can check out the link to the book page here.


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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,



Photo from Canva.com

Reflection questions:


1. Where has bitterness threatened to settle in your heart or attitude?


2. How can these verses help you refocus your mind in your unwanted changes?


1 comment:

  1. Bitterness is so defiling to us and to those around us. Thank you for these practical steps to fight it!

    ReplyDelete

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