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Entries in Kathy Collard Miller (17)

Wednesday
Jul252018

Communicate Well with that 'Irregular' Person

Kathy Collard Miller speaks well to relationships, and especially how we get along. In this Communication UPGRADE, she offers biblical insight into communication skills we all need.

“Someone has said, ‘An irregular person is anyone we don’t get along with,’” Kathy says. “But we should remember someone may be calling us their irregular person! And maybe it’s because our communication skills could improve.”

That is so true! I (Dawn) discovered that when the Lord opened my eyes about someone I thought was too direct and a bit critical in our conversations. As it turned out, I was hyper-sensitive and reactive—something I needed to change.

Kathy continues . . .

It’s easy to think negatively about someone when there is a lack of harmony between us.

“After all, if she weren’t such an irregular kind of person, she wouldn’t misunderstand me. All my other friends understand me. It must be her."

I’ve been studying the biblical book of Proverbs and communication is an important topic in that practical book. Let’s see what insights God offers us for better communication. Maybe we are more irregular than we think.

There are always skills we can learn.

1. Talk less than you think you should even if you feel defensive.

Proverbs 10:19 urges us, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” (ESV).

How true, how true. We all are able to hold our tongue and, at that point, things are going well.

But then we reach our limit and we try to defend ourselves with many words.

Most of the time, many words get us in big trouble.

The more we say, the less we are heard and understood. One temptation is adding points that aren’t relevant to the current topic.

“Oh, and by the way, I’ve been meaning to tell you also about how a month ago you….”

Our many words have now become more complicated and the real issue is harder to deal with.

Less is more in relationships, and especially with someone we aren’t connecting with well. Let’s ask God to help us speak less than more.

2. Keep your voice soft.

Of course such advice as “keep your voice soft” seems impossible, but it really is possible to learn. You’ll be motivated even more when you begin to see the advantages it brings.

Proverbs 15:1 tells us, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

At the time of dealing with someone who seems against us, we feel powerless. They won’t listen nor heed what we’re saying. Everything within us wants to be heard and by golly, we’ll raise our voice to make it happen.

DON'T.

It’ll be the hardest thing ever, but don’t. Instead, use the “broken record technique.” Just say the main point over again in a normal voice.

For instance, “I hear you think I said … but I really said ….” When the person raises her voice and is defensive, again repeat softly, “I hear you think I said … but I really said…” Repeat again as needed—softly!

This is extremely hard but it is possible in God’s power. As a result, you’ll see anger is less likely to be stirred up and there’s a better possibility of a positive conversation.

3. In the end, God must be the one we depend upon to protect us.

After all we’ve done, our efforts may not gain us what we want. Our “irregular” person may respond more aggressively, and we wonder what they are thinking of us. Is it even worse than before?

Our only peace must come from the truth of Proverbs 30:5: “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”

Our words haven’t gained us what we wanted, but God’s Word never goes wrong. The Lord knows the truth about us and our intentions, and He will protect us according to His loving will for us.

We can trust Him.

What can I do to help communicate with the person who seems irregular to me? When my efforts don’t turn out the way I’d prefer, how can I find God as my refuge?

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 50 books, her most recent is No More Anger: Hope for an Out-of-Control Mom (Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.). She loves to speak at evenats and has spoken in more than 30 US states and eight foreign countries. Learn more about Kathy at www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pasja1000 at Pixabay.

Tuesday
May152018

How to Deal with Gossip—about You!

In this Attitude UPGRADE, Kathy Collard Miller addresses the wounding of gossip, and how godly people should respond when others' words hurt.

“Dealing with people who gossip about us is so difficult,” Kathy says. “But there is a way to have peace—through godly sorrow.”

I (Dawn) have to admit: I've never thought about gossip that way. But Kathy's insight is simply amazing ... and biblical!

Kathy continues . . .

I recently learned that someone criticized me to a group of people. Although I didn’t know this group of people, I felt deeply wounded that I was misrepresented.

I wanted to lash out at the gossiping person. Then I thought of the Apostle Paul’s response to his fellow Jews who were gossiping about him.

“I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Romans 9:2-3 ESV)

Because of that passage, I asked God to give me godly sorrow for that person—even at my own expense.

Asking myself three questions helped me have godly sorrow and peace.

1. Why might this person speak negatively about me?

The gossiping woman had been deeply wounded as a child and felt inadequate. She compared herself to everyone and always found herself lacking.

Her need to gossip, though sinning, wasn’t particularly about me. It was her sinful pattern to deal with her own insecurity. I felt offended, but being offended is because I’m believing the lie she told about me.

I truly believe most gossipers are motivated by their own broken self-image.

Most often those who listen to a gossiper can identify their motive. But even if they don’t, my worth and value is determined by God, not someone else’s words about me.

2. How can I love that gossiping person?

Although I wanted to confront that person, I was able to correctly evaluate God’s will because of the peace from godly sorrow in my heart.

Sometimes the Lord will lead us to confront that sinning person and we need to do it in love, not in haste and anger. Only seeing their broken heart and motives will give us the ability to love them for their good, not our defense.

My own sin of succumbing to the temptation of gossiping in the past helped me to forgive this woman. The Bible says we can forgive others who have hurt us because we have been forgiven (Colossians 3:13)

3. Why do I feel threatened?

That question might seem totally ridiculous, because the answer is she talked about me!

But there’s something deeper.

I felt a need to defend the halo around my reputation.

To make sure everyone knew I really am a good person.

But my peace came from knowing God is in charge of my reputation and He can defend me if He wants. Even if I go around trying to correct other people’s opinion of me, it will only cause me distress.

People choose what they want to believe. I can’t control that.

Have you been gossiped about? Have you gossiped?

  • If we’re on the receiving end, we can trust God by knowing He is our defender.
  • If we have gossiped, we need to ask God to forgive us and ask for forgiveness of the person we sinned against.

Either way, peace from godly sorrow will well up inside us—whether it’s the sin of others or our own.

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 50 books, her most recent is No More Anger: Hope for an Out-of-Control Mom (Elk Lake Publishing). She loves to speak at events and has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries. Visit her: www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Prixel Creative at Lightstock.

Tuesday
Jan092018

Purify Your Heart: It's Good for You!

Kathy Collard Miller is a "heart sister." She cares deeply about our hearts—the choices we make. In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, she asks us to examine our hearts so we can live for God's glory.

"God placed within you a desire for pure motives," Kathy says. "He knows purity is good for you and gives glory to Him. Purity may seem impossible but God will provide the way."

I (Dawn) like that two-pronged approach to purity: "good for you and gives glory to (God)." Pursuing purity is a win-win proposition!

Kathy continues . . .

Have you ever had a sense of being motivated by true love? By wanting the best for someone? Those desires are pure motives and God wants to purify your heart because it’s best for you.

When we have muddy motives, we are like James 1:6 describes: “driven and tossed by the wind.”

But the more we release wrong motives, the happier we will be: loving, content and joyful.

God loves you so much He wants to set you free from selfishness and neediness.

Unfortunately, we are so used to acting a certain way, we don’t even realize there could be underlying selfish reasons.

Here are three questions to examine your motives, asking God to reveal your heart.

1. What do I hope to gain?

Lily grew up in a family with three sisters, and the competition to be heard was fierce. She rarely felt like her opinion was heard or important.

While in college, one teacher exclaimed, “You have a way with words.” That statement seemed to affirm her value and birthed a selfish strength to control situations and relationships with talking.

Unfortunately, her many words only drove friends away because she talked about herself almost non-stop. Plus, she really thought she was bringing glory to God by sharing all the wonderful things he was doing in her life.

Lily began asking herself, "What do I hope to gain?"

The Holy Spirit revealed her demand to be heard and affirmed. Although difficult, she began recognizing more and more God’s value for her thoughts and opinions, even if people couldn’t receive them. It made a difference.

2. What do I hope to avoid?

Mae told me, “When I was in middle school, my parents were always sleeping in on weekends because of their partying. If my brothers and I made too much noise, our parents came out and cursed at us.

"The most hurtful was when my mom yelled, ‘You’ll never amount to anything unless you learn to shut up.’ I learned to control my every move—and my brothers’. Even now, too much noise makes me uncomfortable, because I vowed to be quiet as a mouse so I wouldn’t get yelled at.

“Now, when my two sons start rough-housing, I get panicky. I yell at them to be quiet. Isn’t that ironic? I yell so they will "be quiet.”

In time, Mae allowed the Holy Spirit to help her relax more and more by seeing she didn’t need to fear someone would yell at her. And even if they did, it didn’t mean she would “never amount to anything.”

3. How do I feel threatened?

When Charlotte was a little girl, she rode with her grandmother late one evening. She has a vague memory of being in the back seat of a big Plymouth where she could barely see over the front seat’s high back.

“It must have been around the 1950s when I was seven or eight," Charlotte said. "The car was stopped at the intersection, and my grandmother suddenly asked me, ‘Is there a divided highway here?’

I had no idea what a divided highway was, but I’d learned I always had to answer a question. That was respecting my elders. So, I guessed and said, ‘No.’

Wrong answer. My grandmother drove forward and drove right into the curb of a divided highway. I still don’t know why she asked me or why she couldn’t see it, but I immediately thought, ‘I’m so stupid. I should have known the right answer.’

“Even today I have a hard time saying, ‘I don’t know.’ My intelligence always feels threatened. As a result, I jump to conclusions to give any answer and I don’t ask God first.”

After Charlotte recognized the self-imposed wound of declaring herself stupid, she repented of her motive to protect herself. Now she can say, “I don’t know.” She’s also more willing to seek God and give an answer based on what He says rather than what she thinks another person wants or needs to hear.

Try this challenge: For one or two days, ask God to reveal the motives of your heart: WHY you want to choose something.

You can be honest knowing God loves you, regardless, and is passionate about purifying your heart for your good.

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 50 books, her most recent Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory (Elk Lake Publishing). She loves to speak at events and has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries. Visit her: www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of suju at Pixabay.

Thursday
Nov162017

Why Does Rejection Feel So Bad?

Kathy Collard Miller continually turns women to the Word of God to find truth to combat the lies they might believe. In this Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, she helps us focus in on the truth about rejections.

"Rejection," Kathy says, "hits like an atom bomb in our soul."

Boom! I (Dawn) have felt the powerful impact of rejection over my entire life. But I've learned over the years how to counter the reality of rejection and my brokenness because of it—with God's truth. That's something Kathy' espouses too.

Kathy continues . . .

Recently I felt sick in the depths of my stomach and my soul when I felt rejected.

Personal rejection can be described as someone refusing to accept what we offer them or they believe something bad about us.

We feel attacked and misunderstood. It can be a very hopeless feeling.

Here are three points for hope.

1.  We can understand where the feelings of rejection originated.

Rejection can bring up the lies we believed or felt about us in childhood. In that moment, we feel as if we’re back being that little girl or boy when we felt horrible, because we were attacked emotionally or physically.

It feels like all the resources and truth we know as adults about God are thrown out the window and we’re back to being voiceless, powerless, or without defense. The feelings are the same even though the situation is different.

In those moments, God offers hope through assuring us we aren’t the child any longer—thinking God isn’t there for us.

Instead, the truth is, God promises to be our refuge, help, protector, and give unconditional love.

We may not see evidence of that like we’d prefer, but by faith we can tell ourselves our loving Savior is “for” us and is defending us more than we realize.

2. Rejection most often comes because the other person feels threatened in some way.

Most of the time, she is reacting out of her own pain or even feeling rejected or worthless herself.

Even if we made a mistake or react in a hurtful way, she is responsible before God to offer grace because He has forgiven her for so much and He offers the strength she needs to make a wise choice.

But so many of us respond to and are responded to by others out of past wounds. Unfortunately, we take the person’s attack personally and blame ourselves.

Certainly we can take responsibility for our wrong choices but regardless, the other person is responsible for their response too. God wants to empower us to not take the attack personally but to offer an example of God’s grace of unconditional love. It is possible.

3. Rejection is the feeling of our worth and value being dismissed.

We believe the rejection is valid, because we believe the lie someone else believes: “She is worthless,” “He is stupid,” “She has nothing of worth to offer,” and many other lies.

But those are lies created by Satan against God’s beloved creation.

We must look primarily to God for who He says we are, not other people.

Not only were each of us created with God’s stamp of “good” at creation, even in our sin He demonstrates we are important and loved by Him through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. That act determines we are never rejected or reject-able by God.

In the first chapter of Ephesians, He says the opposite of rejection.

He says we are:

  • loved,
  • forgiven,
  • blessed,
  • redeemed,
  • accepted,
  • adopted,
  • and many other truths of our identity.

Only believing those truths will counteract the atom bomb going off in our soul and minds when we feel rejected.

Indeed, our audience of One—God Himself—is still seeing us “in Christ” regardless of another person’s opinions.

Jesus demonstrated that many times.

  • Jesus refused to believe the rejection of His own family who believed Him crazy (Mark 3:21).
  • Jesus didn’t respond to the rejection of the Pharisees, His own disciples, and even the betrayal of Judas and Peter.

He knew His identity as God.

Even as a human, Jesus depended on who His Father said He was.

That’s our challenge also.

Which point will you focus on the next time you feel rejected?

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of more than 50 books including Choices of the Heart: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. She is a popular women's conference speaker both nationally and internationally. Visit KathyCollardMiller.com. Kathy lives in Southern California with her husband Larry (of 45+ years). They have two children and two grandchildren.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of comfreak at Pixabay.

Thursday
Sep142017

Draw Close to Jesus through 'Abiding'

Kathy Collard Miller teaches biblical truth in practical, life-motivating ways. In this Spiritual Growth UPGRADE, she shares how she has come to "abide" in Christ in fresh ways.

"In John 15:7, Jesus says: 'Abide in me, and I in you.' What is abiding," Kathy asks, "and how do I abide?"

At first, I (Dawn) thought, "Everybody knows that." But do we? Really? How do we know?

Kathy continues . . .

For more than two years, I’ve been specifically meditating on what abiding is and how it can draw me closer to Jesus.

At times I think of abiding as spiritual antennae sticking out of my heart, acknowledging God is there to do His work.

I’ve found four specific ways I’m living it out.

1. Faithful fixing my eyes on Jesus.

Hebrews 12:2 assures us, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.”

Jesus is the one who invites us to abide, so we can be confident He wants us to. And whatever He wants for us we can know He’ll provide the means.

We never have to wonder, “Am I supposed to do this?” And the wonderful thing about abiding, is that it’s always appropriate.

It’s a fundamental work that is available for every single minute of our waking day.

2. Steadfast seeking.

Abiding is not a one-time decision, nor something we do and then forget.  

Abiding is seeking God moment by moment, over and over again.

It’s a continuing journey of learning how to abide more and more often.

I never abide every moment, but I don’t have to be afraid God is upset or disappointed.

Philippians 1:6 encourages us saying,

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

The Lord understands every part of Christian growth is a process. Therefore, it’s not an “all or nothing” arrival—that “now I’ll always abide.” No, we learn it more and more.

And we’ll abide more at different times for different reasons. But God is inviting us over and over again to “seek Me again.”

He’s continually taking our spiritual face and gently turning it back to seek Him. It's like a child who won’t look at us; we sometimes take their face gently in our hands and say, “Look at me now.” Their eyes become focused on us and we know they can hear us and more easily understand.

That’s Jesus’ invitation to abide. Seek me again.

3. Accepting ambiguity.

It’s easy to think that if I’m abiding, I’ll know everything, be perfectly guided, and never make a mistake.

No, even as we abide, not everything will be clear.

That doesn’t need to discourage us. Only Jesus did everything right in obedience to His Father. But even then, He had to spend lots of time with His Father.

4. Alert awareness.

Abiding tunes us to the wavelength of the Spirit’s prompting.

Ephesians 6:18 tells us,

“praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”

Even in the midst of busy daily activities we can abide.

  • Through prayer we turn our attention to Him. “Help me, right now, Lord.”
  • Through memorization of Scripture. “Lord, Philippians 4:13 tells me you strengthen me, and I believe you’ll do that right now.”
  • Through rehearsing God’s faithful loving work in the past. “Father, I remember when you provided what I needed two weeks ago, so I believe you’ll provide now.”
  • Through asking, “God, where are you right now in what’s happening? You promise you are everywhere. Open my spiritual eyes to see you working.”

I suggest wearing a rubber band on your wrist.

Each time you look at it, turn your spiritual antennae to:

Fixing on the Lord, Seeking, Accepting  Ambiguity, and Being Alert.

Your ability to abide will grow.

What can you focus on to abide more?

Kathy Collard Miller’s life is filled with the joy of family, writing, and speaking. She has over 50 books published and has spoken in over 30 states and 8 foreign countries. Her latest book is a women’s Bible study Whispers of My Heart: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. Visit Kathy's website.

Graphic of rubber band, courtesy of mconnor at Morguefile.

Graphic of heart, courtesty of Krzys16 at Pixabay.