Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

So often when we face challenges in our relationships, we pray that God will change the other person.  In fact, we obsess about the multitude of ways in which God should change them.  We don’t even think about asking God to change us.  After all, why should we change?  We aren’t doing anything wrong.  Everyone else needs to change!  The problem is that we don’t grow in wisdom and maturity when other people change.  We stay the same.

If we really want to grow as individuals, we should be asking God to change us.  The next time someone gets on your nerves or does something outrageous, consider praying, “Dear God, please change me.  Change my reaction to what is going on around me.”

Now I’m not suggesting that you ask God to make you blind to the behavior of other people.  If people are acting poorly, you don’t have to pretend that their behavior is wonderful.  If someone acts in a manner that is insensitive toward either me or my daughter, I’m not going to say that person is being nice.  I’m a big believer in labeling behavior for what it is.  Rather, what we need is God’s help to properly react to the poor behavior so that we can remain happy and peaceful, in spite of it.

In some instances, we may need God’s help to ignore other people.  Some people are begging to be ignored.  They say and do ridiculous things that don’t merit a response.  Reacting to them in any way is not worth your time.  Let God sort them out.  Ask God to help you to save your energy and keep your peace.

We may need God to show us how to take care of ourselves when other people are acting poorly.  I once worked with a woman who was in a failing marriage.  She didn’t discuss her situation openly, but she did tell me, “Sometimes you just need to go out and get a cup of coffee.”  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve followed her advice when I needed a break from a person or situation.  We don’t have to resolve every issue with people on the spot.  Sometimes, we can leave and take a break.  It’s a matter of self-care.  And getting a cup of coffee sends a very clear message.  If people want to have our company, they need to act properly, or we are heading to Starbucks.

Sometimes we need God to help us tell someone that their behavior is hurting us or another person.  That’s hard.  It’s not easy to say tough things in a way that others can hear.  Moreover, the information may not be well-received.  No one likes being told that their behavior has been hurtful.  No one likes hearing that they are having bad effect on other people.  But sometimes people need to hear that information.  And we need to accept that the other person may not say, “I’m sorry.”  They may pout.  They may deny.  But hopefully God will convict them and help them change their ways.

Asking God to change how we deal with difficult people is really about asking God to give us wisdom.  It is the wise person who understands that other people’s behavior is just that –their behavior.   It has nothing to do us, and can only affect us if we allow it to.  But with God’s help we can learn to keep our joy and peace no matter what is happening around us.  And that is one of the best blessings of all.

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