Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Don’t Deposit Opinions~ November 12, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:20 am
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“What’s the matter, Emma?”

I had just picked up the last of my school kids yesterday and my typically chatty, smiley girl was sulking.

“Nothing.”

I lowered the rear view mirror so I could quickly lock eyes with her.

“Emma, we all can tell something is wrong so just spill it.”

“Susie Q called me stupid!” (Name changed 😉)

“Well, are you stupid?”

“NO!!”

“Of course you’re not, so why does it matter what she said? Baby, just because someone said something about you doesn’t make it true.”

And that seemed to be enough for my girl. She was right back to her normal self, not giving another thought to the opinion of one of her peers. That’s when it hit me, how many times have I sulked over something someone said to or about me?

We all have had someone be the opposite of nice to us. Someone’s called you a name, spread a rumor about you, sent you a nasty-gram and in the spirit of total honesty, you’ve been the guilty party as well, I know I have. Some of you blessed souls out there genuinely seem to have the ability to let it roll right off your back while others really struggle with letting opinions take root. I’m somewhere in the middle, depending on the offender and the depth of “meanness,” I can either shrug it off or take it to heart. When it comes to what others think about you, you have a choice, save it in your memory bank or delete it.

While I do think it’s wise to give thought to what others say about you, brief thought that is, I do not believe it’s healthy to let it alter how you see yourself. My husband, wise man that he is, once shared this little nugget of truth with me when I was seriously damaged goods because of another’s words, “Who you are is defined by how you live and how God sees you. People’s opinions, although worth considering at times, are not the final definition.”

Words hurt, friends, I get that. It is impossible to control what others say so it is up to us to guard our hearts and minds from such things. smile

 

 

~Are Your Words Promoting Healing or Hatred?~ November 25, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:08 am
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This morning I found myself feeling incredibly overwhelmed at the level of hatred blaring through the television and scrolling across my computer screen. I understand emotions are high during times of controversy but I don’t understand how it breeds such contempt among our brothers and sisters.

When I write, I don’t shy away from the controversial topics but I do try to be careful not to disrespect my readers and how what I say might affect them. On that note, let me preface this post with this, I do not have an opinion on the verdict that was read last night from Missouri. Not one thought.

Lest you think I am simply uneducated or that I’m too spineless to “pick a side,” allow me to share with you why I feel this way about this particular case and others of similar content.

The only information I have is from the media. It is my opinion that media executives are far more concerned about ratings than they are about educating their viewers. The more shocking the report, the higher the ratings. Therefore, I don’t consider it a reliable source to form an educated opinion.

“You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.” (Exodus 23:1 ESV)

I wasn’t there. Have you ever heard the expression, “If you don’t see it with your own eyes or hear it with your own lips, don’t think it with your small mind and spread it with your big mouth.” A little harsh, maybe. But it keeps me from adding to the chaos by gossiping or passing judgment. I wouldn’t want someone to form an opinion of me based on second hand accounts.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29 ESV)

I have no authority to judge, plain and simple.

“There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:12 ESV)

Here is where I do have an opinion, nothing good can come from rioting and slanderous words. Rather than add to the darkness, should we not be the light? As tempting as it may be to share why so-and-so is in the wrong and so-in-so needs vindication, wouldn’t it be a better use of our time to show love while the rest of the world is screaming hate?prov 6

 

~His Truth, Not My Opinion~ February 28, 2014

Here fairly recently, I had myself a little freak out moment.  I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the number of prayer requests and those who were seeking guidance.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the opportunity to minister to others and I consider it a privilege to walk alongside those who are hurting, but not too long ago, I panicked!

I was fretting over what to say and feeling immense pressure that I was going to mess someone up with my advice.  Somewhere in the midst of my crazy, the Lord gave me the most beautiful revelation.  God is not asking me to share my opinion with those who reach out to me, He has commanded that I share His Word.

“Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” (vs 2)

“Those whose hearts understand what is right get knowledge.  The ears of those who are wise listen for it.” (vs 15) 

The last thing I want is to open my mouth like a blubbering fool and let my own ideas and thoughts pour out.  But if I am scouring the Bible for wisdom, when I give counsel, it will be His truth that comes out and not my personal opinion.  While I could allow this to stress me even further, it actually gave me a sense of peace and freedom in my ministry.  Other translations of verse 15 say the ears of the wise seek out knowledge.  Basically, go look for it!  You can be certain that whatever you pursue, eventually you’re going to find it, whether that be good or evil.

We must constantly remind ourselves that so long as we are seeking the Lord’s face, listening for that still small voice and submitting to His leading, then we can feel confident in the words that we speak to the one in need.

When someone thanks me for my insight, I am quick to point them to Jesus.  It is not wisdom from within that I speak of but Biblical truth that brings about understanding and correction when needed.  I am a vessel for the Lord to work through, just as all others who are answering the call to minister in however the Lord sees fit.  I pray that I would never take for granted the immense honor that it is to be an ambassador for Christ.  May those who seek to glorify the Lord with the work of their lives be emboldened by the power of the Spirit that lives in the hearts of those who diligently seek Him.wise doubts

*The above Scripture references are from Proverbs 18 as part of the 31 Day Reading Challenge of the Book of Proverbs.

 

~Depth Perception~ February 6, 2014

I have always been a bit of a klutz.  Mrs. Lisa might be disappointed to know that all those years of dance didn’t carry over into my every day life.  I’ve often been accused of having poor depth perception.  I get in a rush, cut corners and stub my toe.  Or I’ll have an armload of groceries and feel so sure that I can still squeeze through the door only to smack straight into the door jam and nearly topple over backwards off the porch.  Grace, is not my middle name.

As I thought about this particular problem, I realized that my inability to gauge the depth I am working with is connected directly to my need to rush.  If I would take the time to assess the situation, looking at the logistics if you will, then I would likely save myself from a bloody toe, busted backside and a plethora of multi-colored bruises.

With this same mindset, I wondered if I have ever been guilty of undervaluing a person’s depth.  It didn’t take me long to realize the answer would be a resounding yes.

You know that when we look at another person, we are getting just a glimpse into who they are.  We see what they want us to see.  We then make our judgments as to what kind of person they are and how “deep” they may be.

In my recent self-reflection, I found that I am far more complex than I would ever have admitted to myself, much less anyone else.  It also afforded me the opportunity to discover much of the same about others.

You, like me, probably prefer to think of yourself as being non-judgmental, but on some level, we all are.  We form our opinions of others based on what we think we know.

So-and-so never speaks up during meetings, prayer times, etc so they must not care about what’s being discussed.

I have never seen Jack or Jill shed a tear, they are so insensitive.

He/She always walks around with that tough, I-could-care-less expression on their face, they could never understand what I’m going through.

Then something happens and you are placed in a position to find just how wrong you were about that person.  It may be they suddenly pour their heart out in a small group, bible study or some other intimate, more personal environment and you see them in a whole other light.  Perhaps they hear through the grapevine (also known as the gossip chain) that you have been through the exact same struggle they are currently faced with so seemingly out of nowhere, they seek your counsel.  The parallels in your lives remove barriers that you never knew were there!

It is my desire to know the people the Lord places in my path on a deeper level.  I don’t want to fall in the habit of believing the facade that is presented is all that there is to any one individual.  In order for others to feel comfortable with allowing us to see their depth, we must first be willing to let ours show.  The sooner we drop our preconceived notions about one another, the quicker we can develop real, meaningful connections that will lead to spiritual and emotional growth.

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!

By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

(Ecclesiastes 4: 9, 10 & 12 The Message)

Maybe it’s time we take a look at how we measure one another’s depth so that we can create bonds which are not easily broken.  When we take the time to properly gauge situations, we can navigate “sharp corners & tight doorways” with ease.

depth

 

~Halloween Doesn’t Have to be Scary!~ October 31, 2013

halloweenI’m  not familiar with the customs in the rest of the world, but today, in the good ole US of A…it is Halloween.

I have to admit, this is my least favorite “holiday.”  (I can hear your fingers flying across the keys as you fire off your hate mail, just hear me out.)  First off, I am the biggest chicken you will ever meet.  I don’t do haunted houses, scary costumes or bloody make-up and I certainly don’t watch scary movies.  No.  It creeps me out and gives me nightmares for days.  Yes I am a grown woman and I know the difference in real and make believe but I see little reason to intentionally put myself in the path of a zombie, Freddy Crougar or Michael Meyers….not happening people.  Secondly, name one other time when we would allow our children to take candy from strangers?!  I can recall numerous conversations as a child with my mom preaching at me to do the exact opposite.  A stranger offers you candy, run away!  (hahaha)

However, seeing as how I have 5 children to answer to, naturally they would all like to participate in the same festivities as their friends.  So how does this freak-out mom handle this day?  The oldest daughter will be dressed in coordinating costumes with her 2 best friends and hitting the safest neighborhood in town.  The rest of us will all be at a family members house, munching on themed snacks and throwing goodies in the bags of eager little trick-or-treaters.  No blood, no gore.

For those of you participating in the night’s activities, at whatever capacity, how about you don’t let the darkness win?  Whatever you believe about the origin of Halloween, whether it be pagan or not, shine the light of Jesus.  God can even take something created for evil and use it for good.  I’ve seen Him do it, time and time again.

I pray you all have a safe and enjoyable evening.  And please, oh please, if you are dressed as any of the above characters do not sneak up on me, I will not be held accountable for my reactions!

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”  

-Plato