“Mommy,” she sniffed, “That little girl doesn’t want to play with me. She told me to go away! I was just trying to make a new friend…” my three-year-old trailed off with tears in her voice as she sat on my knee at our local play place. My mother heart broke at the rejection she was experiencing, but what could I say?
I prayed. I pressed in.
“Do you think maybe she thought you were trying to take something from her? That maybe she didn’t realize you just wanted to be her friend? Why don’t you try going over there and talking to her again. Tell her that you weren’t trying to take the castle from her, but that you just wanted to be friends. Sometimes people can be prickly at first, maybe if you try again, something different will happen.”
Her blonde head bobbed, her blue eyes looked determined in the direction of the little girl she wanted to make her friend. And she slid of my lap and ran over to try again.
Sure enough, a few minutes later they were both running around together with superhero capes on, pretending to fight bad guys.
And how could I not grin from ear to ear? Seeing my daughter triumph over the fear of a second rejection. Seeing her move with compassion and kindness for someone who had been unkind to her. Seeing her choose hope over fear.
You will say that kids are more resilient than we are; and maybe to some extent that is true. But I think the real truth is that kids know how to keep their hearts soft to hope in the midst of fear. And they are much quicker than we are to let that hope move their feet in the direction of love; than to let that fear fester into withdrawl and hatred.
Lisa-Jo Baker wrote about it in her book Never Unfriended which I gave a brief review of here. The summary; HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
But there is more here even than just friendship to learn from; hope is the driving force behind so much of what we do or don’t do. And as people who have been called to a new and living hope, it is an integral part of who we are. Hope has the power to trump fear, as long as we keep our hearts tender and soft towards what God might be doing.
We know we are supposed to chose hope. We know that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear; but HOW? How do we do any of that?
How to let hope move your feet, instead of fear:
- Forgive: When someone hurts you, the only way through to a relationship restored is forgiveness. I’m not talking about when they say they are sorry either. So many times in relationships, when people’s prickles scrape us raw, we have to forgive before we ever even see them again. Forgiveness is a commitment between us and God, to no longer dwell on the sin of another, but to release them. When we remember how greatly we have been forgiven by Christ, we realize that even the greatest offences of another person are nothing compared to the offenses we have brought in our sinful estate, to the Holy One. We cannot go lower than he did. We cannot forgive others for more than he already has. That’s why Jesus said to forgive 70 x 7…
- Ask God to help you see people the way that he sees them: This is a constant prayer of mine. Jesus please help me to see so-and-so the way that YOU see them. Because in my heart it is so easy to be frustrated and angry and merciless; but Jesus has mercy aplenty for every single one of us. When we ask God to help us see others as he sees them, we acknowledge that our own perspective is horribly biased and our vision compromised. We ask God to give us his perspective, and since he loves the whole world, it changes how we see. I’m sure you have heard it, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, which apparently goes back to ancient Greece, but if you think about how God sees everyone, as someone worth dying for, it takes on a whole new meaning. That someone is made in his image, with strengths and flaws aplenty. Someone with their own heavy battles to fight. Someone who is living in fear or something or in bondage to something. Someone with a story and a song and a name. It’s hard not to love someone when you recognize all of that in them. And as we know, love will change everything.
- Choose to rest secure in who you are in Christ, regardless of how other people look at your, speak to you, treat you, etc. But regardless of how you choose to see others through the lens of Christ, they will likely not give you that same treatment. So they may look at you sideways, or speak to you funny, or be actually and truly cruel to you. Don’t let this be a wave that tosses you from the firm foundation of your identity in Christ. You are who Christ says you are; not how anyone else sees or perceives you. As I say to my recovering people pleaser & perfectionist friends, “Accept the Judge’s Verdict!” If Jesus has proclaimed you beloved and beautiful and innocent in his sight, then what does it matter what anyone else thinks? (Including YOU!)
So let’s remember these things, and put our hopeful feet forward. You were made to do good and to not be afraid of anything that is frightening. (1 Peter 3: 6) Lets move forward in hope today. Let’s love people well for the sake of the Kingdom.
Do you have something God is asking you to move forward in today? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.