“We all have difficult people in our life, but hear this: God can use them to help you become the best version of you — maybe even more than the people you like.”- John Ortberg
In Chapter 18 (“Find a Few Difficult People to Help You Grow”) of The Me I Want to Be, John Ortberg observes that other people don’t create your spirit. In fact, if God desires to grow some quality in you, He may bring someone into your life who tempts you to behave the opposite way.
Although we always hope God plans on giving us a life without difficult people, God used difficult people to mold many great Biblical characters. For example, Moses had Pharaoh and David had Saul. Pastor Ortberg explains:
“If God loves you and wants to shape you, he will send some difficult people your way. But take heart. You are the difficult person he is sending to shape somebody else. If we can learn to have rivers of living water still flowing through us in these relationships, we will be unstoppable.”
Furthermore, John notes, people impact our lives in one of two ways. The either energize us or drain us. Life-bringers:
- increase our energy
- deepen our hope
- add to our joy
- call out the best in us
In contrast, life-drainers (a) add to our anxiety and (b) invite us to cynicism. As a result, we find ourselves becoming defensive, depressed, or exasperated.
Since only God can touch the deepest place of another’s soul, prayer provides the only way to influence people at their deepest level. In prayer, John states, we go with God into another person’s soul. The space between you and your enemy = the space where love grows. And love is the only way to live.
In conclusion, Pastor Ortberg tells us there’s a quarter-second gap between when an impulse takes place in your brain and when that action takes place in your body. That’s enough time for the Holy Spirit to take control. Remember, every difficult person is a real person with their own story.
Today’s question: Do you surround yourself with life-energizers or life-drainers? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “When you discover your strengths”