Christianity -- Christian Living/Harsh conditions

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Question
Hello, thank you in advance for your answer.
Sorry this is a bit long but I need a Godly woman's opinion.

Usually I am a fairly strong and happy woman of God and I put on my full armor every morning and that usually helps me take on the day, but lately I feel very down and discouraged.  

I have a chronic condition that is usually in remission but too much stress can cause flares. In addition, after turning 40 my body decided to go haywire as far as PMS and hormones. While seeing my doctor and doing my part I still have to deal with life. While I have dealt with some nasty people at work (that I later won over)I just started a new and good paying job and two of the people are NOT helping and even trying to sabatoge me.

Well, I try to live as Christ does, loving the unlovely and praying for my enemies but I just don't have any desire or the emotional strength to deal with this high school type behavior,

I just want to leave because I don't want to become sick and be absolutely miserable every single day at work. I have tried everything there and I start off my day with God each morning, but by the time I am driving home from work I am in tears!

I just don't know what to do, but I think my health is more important but I also need a job. Right now I feel completely defeated and want to give up. It was hard to find this job. I have a lot of skills but I live in a rural area and jobs are scarce.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Answer
Good morning, Vicky!

Thank you for trusting me with your question.

First, let me say that you have much going for you.  Not everyone even tries to rely upon God in his/her daily life. They wait until everything falls apart and then God gets called like fire and rescue.  Stop and thank God for His impact on your daily life and for your trust in Him.  Both are gifts beyond measure.

Second, you also have a job, one that pays well!  Take a moment and thank God for providing a job for you when so many people either canít find work or have given up trying.  Godís provision for you is something that we can reflect upon with gratitude.

Third, although you have a chronic condition, it is generally in remission and thatís good!  God has given doctors wisdom to be able to help manage the situation and thatís something that many people would love to be able to say but their situations are not in remission and they suffer daily.

Now that we have gratitude firmly bathing the situation (strategy #1), letís talk about some other strategies for coping.  People!  Argh!  Itís a wonder God doesnít just wipe us all off the planet again.  Oh, He gave us a rainbow and a promise so that's off the table.  :'-)

We can be cruel to one another and your coworkers do not know the deep damage they are doing to themselves by being cruel to you.  You are right to love the unlovely and to pray for your enemies and to do your best to forgive them as Christ forgave you.  The reason thatís the very best thing you can do is because only God can change people.  And He can change your perspective from the receiving end of nastiness/high school behavior to one of being on the giving end of kindness and maturity, setting a godly example for those who either donít know what theyíre doing or those who know full well and just think that behavior that harms others is alrightÖwhen itís not.

Strategy #2 Consider suffering as something that is part of the ordinary experience of Christians and itís not without purpose.  In Romans 8: 17-18, Paul writes, ď17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs-- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.Ē Itís easier to get discouraged when we see suffering as undeserved and without purpose.  If you know that bearing up with it is making you more like Jesus and is bringing glory to Himóa glory that is the one thing you can give to Him on the other sideóthen, it will be easier to deal with these coworkers.

Strategy #3  People are usually a mixture of good and bad.  Most people are not so depraved and worthless that there's nothing to be praised.  Paul also wrote Romans 12:18 "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.""  Paul dealt with his share of troublemakers and he outlines all the miseries he faced in 2 Cor 11:23-28.  It's really a powerful passage.  I used it as part of my sermon this past Sunday on Paul being falsely accused and residing in the place of God sovereignty which in turn built Paul's faith.  I should have the audio and the text posted today on my web site.  The audio is on YouTube.  God understands that our frustrations with life result in emotions.  Emotions are not a sign of sin or Christian failure.  Jesus wept. Jesus got ticked off. Jesus was falsely accused and grieved over Jerusalem.  Since people (other than Jesus) are a mixture of good and bad, learn who your coworkers are and search their character for a glimmer of the Image of God in which they, too, are made.  It's there, maybe just buried in that high school locker.  :D

A 4th Strategy is to find an outlet for your stress so that it doesn't get internalized and express itself as a flare up.  You can journal and vent it on your lunch break in your car.  You can enjoy music, exercise, art, or animals.  Until God changes your co-workers, you'll at least have a way of coping with the stress.  Which by the way, tears are a way of coping with stress.  They're not a bad thing.  Coping mechanisms will help when you rest in God's knowledge of your situation.  True Christian character shows best when squeezed.

And a final thought for this morning, do you have anyone who can be an accountability partner in whom you can confide?  A prayer partner who will pray for you during your work day and ask you how God answered prayers each day?  Your prayer partner can take the high school behaviors that are so nasty and turn them into targeted prayer for God to show Himself sovereign over it.  I have had times in my life where I was too overwhelmed and defeated to be able to pray.  At times like that, I discovered that a geographical solution to my problem rarely solved it.  Instead others prayed that I would embrace the situation and through the grace of Christ, triumph over it.  If I just went from place to place to avoid it, it would resurface there.  Maybe God wants you to win over new people using the skills you learned the last time.  You did so well, God gave you a promotion!  :)

You sound like a remarkable woman of God and there's no need to feel defeated.  God has you on the front lines for a reason and it's not so you'll find a place to fail.  Your daily devotion to Him is what will allow you to stand against the Philistine.  God is your armor.  You go, girl!  :)

I hope you start today reassured and energized.  God is good...all the time.  Even when we have no clue what He's doing!

If this didn't address your question, please feel free to write back and I'll try again!
Blessings to you, in Christ,
Barbara <><  

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Barbara Shafer

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Barbara Shafer (Seminary Gal now also at http://seminarygal.com ) I am an Evangelical Christian who is willing to answer faith questions in a thoughtful, researched manner. In particular, my heart`s desire is to assist those who need answers regarding suffering and those seeking to reconcile the Christian faith with the field of science. SeminaryGal.com

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I have a Masters of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I particularly enjoy apologetics (defense and explanation of the Christian faith) and systematic theology (understanding how the Bible itself supports various aspects of Christian doctrine). Both of these play a vital role in the "nuts and bolts" of evangelism... but the heart of Christian evangelism is love and compassion. A turning point for me was when I experienced the loss of my daughter Julia. Since then, my heart has been to help people who struggle to understand the Christian faith (and those who may be questioning the goodness of God) in light of the problem of evil and suffering. I've been informally answering Bible questions via other Internet avenues for over 10 years- to skeptics and believers alike. Thank you for blessing me with these opportunities.

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Master of Divinity, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

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