I wrote a handy list of relationship tips recently, and am going deeper on one of them today: Know the God- given roles for people in your life and respect His authority.
Much has been written about how people are in our lives for a reason, to play a specific role. Encouragement is offered, and explanations of how to manage the God-given friendships in your life, how to define and recognize appropriate levels of intimacy and partnership for each role, and how to make sure not to pervert relationships or recast roles.
Not as much discussion is had about how to deal with God-given folks in your life who are not your friends.
Or even what they might look like.
If you’ve figured out you were put here for a reason, you’ve entered a race that will help others just because you stepped up. Unfortunately that means others will be against you. As my grandpa used to say, “If you have enemies, you must be doing something right.”
You can’t please everyone and you can’t ride the fence on injustice. Some things are just wrong. Some people will be your enemies.
It’s irresponsible to disregard danger, pretending it’ll go away if you don’t validate it with a response, or empower it with your thoughts or energy.
The reality is you need to know what you’re facing and you need a plan.
So let’s be clear on these God-given roles.
Partners: Yay!!! Those who support you, love you, are clearly brought into your life for a reason aligned with your purpose. They will reflect the truth to you, especially when you lose sight of it. Nurture and cherish and build those relationships: Life depends on it.
Enemies: Those who don’t support you, don’t love you, and are clearly brought into your life to oppose you. Waste no time wondering whether they’ll change, whether you were sent to bring them to the light. Recognize them. Pray for them. Keep your distance.
Then there’s the worst kind of enemy, the one you don’t recognize as opposition, because they’re so familiar and fun.
You. The you that chooses the wrong path. The lie. The you who chooses random fun, just-once-can’t-hurt, what’s-the-big-deal, who’s-gonna-know-anyway. The reality is, that’s all it takes. Whether it’s one or a million little moments is irrelevant.
Because the problem isn’t how often, or how much you’ll risk your life or purpose for. The problem isn’t the consequence of being caught.
The problem is that you’d think anything was worth risking your life or purpose. The problem is that you’d lie to yourself and God about who He is. Not smart.
Give me the fire-breathing, knife-wielding, cannon-shooting, screaming psycho enemy all day long.
I’m from Watts, I got a plan for that. See it coming miles away.
The hardest enemy to fight is the one in your head, trying to pull your strings like the God in you isn’t in charge. And yes, this may show up as the alluring, tempting people in your life who activate the enemy within you.
And yes, the enemy within is God-given: It’s choice.
We truly do have free will and that’s what makes us powerful. That’s why we can trust Him. He fully trusts us, to make our own choices even though we’re a raging hot mess. It’s up to us to choose right.
So how do you do that?
Take control. If you have to, leave. Ask for privacy. Close your eyes and cover your ears. This is not silly. It is your life. Why should you feel obligated to permit or invite others to inform a decision that you alone have to live with? You wouldn’t let somebody tell you what to do in your house or with your money. If someone insists on staying/talking/not letting you be alone for a minute let that be your red-alarm. No ifs-ands-buts-about-it, you gots ta go now. Anyone who insists their presence is a prerequisite for you to tap into God is a liar. Enemy. Run.
Remember who you are. You think the first thought that runs through President Obama’s head if a high school buddy calls to party is, “When and where?” Nope. It’s much more along the lines of, “I’m a husband. I’m a father. I’m the President of the United States. I’m the leader of the free world. Is you crazy?” Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self. If you have to, start by remembering who you’re not: You are not helpless, lost, stupid, desperate, crazy, broke, alone, needy, tired, sad, etc. Look up. You are a child of God. Remember.
Get the right idea and act on it. Don’t assume because you thought it would be a good idea it is. Especially not if you have a cosigner nearby. Our minds, feelings and bodies are not free-wheeling playgrounds we can’t control. If that were the case we’d remain infants forever. Grow up. Take responsibility for yourself. That begins with realizing every thing is not a good idea, every emotion is not to be acted upon, every action is not forced. Dogs do whatever they want. They also eat their own vomit and hump trees. Just saying. That ain’t freedom. You can opt out, and opt in to the right idea. Think up. If you have to spend every waking minute praying to master your mind and control your thoughts, do it.
Taking these steps sets the stage and clears the way for you to focus on Him, so you can clearly recognize the enemy within and keep your distance.