Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 12)

My fearless middle son on the jungle gym

How to Lose Control and Like It.

My daring middle son on the jungle gym.

Danger doesn’t find my kids. They seem to seek it out.

A knock sounded on the door. My kids were watching a movie upstairs (back when they were ages 7, 6, & 4) while I cooked dinner. I sighed and turned the stove down. It had to be a salesman, peddling insect yard treatments, or a person soliciting votes to run for local office. I planned to shoo them swiftly away, so I didn’t burn supper.

I swung the door open with a tight expression to find a middle-aged man nicely dressed, standing back from the door by a good distance.

“May I help you?” I said in a clipped tone.

He glanced up, then back at me and shifted his weight. “I—ah—just wanted to let you know your son and his two friends are on the roof.”

I blinked while his words registered. I felt my eyes widen, and my stomach rose into my chest. Footsteps and small voices sounded on the landing behind me. I spun around and stared up at two curious little faces peeking through the railing. My voice pitched a couple of octaves higher. “You were on the roof?”

Their smiles evaporated.

The man at the door cleared his throat, bid me farewell, and hustled back to his car. I called out my thanks, my voice, this time, sweet as pie. I should have invited him in for dinner. I should have kissed his feet for taking the time out of his busy commute to stop and tell me my children were in danger. How many other cars had seen the kids and just kept driving?

I mounted the stairs two at a time and entered my room to see the open window and screen that led to the farmer’s porch roof. I popped my head out. The concrete sidewalk below the porch loomed like a gravestone. I searched for my oldest son, but he wasn’t outside. The youngest two pointed to the bathroom.

I yelled through the door. “Were you on the roof?”

“I was in here the whole time.”

My jaw clenched as my initial panic switched over to anger, knowing my oldest was the only one who had the height and dexterity to remove the child locks from the windows. 

My boys climbing the wrong side of the stairs
My older boys climbing the wrong side of the stairs

There is only so much control we have over a situation.

I want to protect my children from harm. I do what I can to keep them safe, give them rules and boundaries, put child-locks on the windows, turn on a movie, so they’re not underfoot while I cook dinner, risking serious burns, but there was and will always be something I don’t think of, something I can’t control.

It’s this lack of control that causes me anxiety. It wakes me up in the middle of the night with my heart racing, wondering what if… why didn’t I… I should have…

The helpless feeling sucks me into a dark place. I want to hold tight to my illusion of control and think of more ways to protect my family and our wellbeing, but the problem is just that—its an illusion. There have been so many days when I’ve kneeled on the bathroom floor crying out to God. I’ve failed them. I’ve messed them up for life. I’m not qualified. I don’t know enough.

It’s those times when God speaks into my heart. My love never fails. I’m in control. I will cover your faults. I will stand in the gaps. Cast your cares on me.

God doesn’t expect me to be perfect. It’s a ridiculous pressure I’ve placed on myself. God says, Trust in me and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

I don’t know what happened to the nice man that stopped. I pray for God to bless him every time I remember this story, and I thank God that he sent him to protect my kids. Now, when I wake up in the middle of the night worried, I say a prayer for God’s protection and whisper to myself.

“God’s got this.”

My youngest stuck under the table
My youngest stuck under the kitchen table

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Dancing woman

Get in Rhythm

Fall trees

I have a love/hate relationship with fall. New England is picturesque when the leaves change. The smell of burning wood from fireplaces permeates the air. We go apple picking and drink cider. However, it’s a tense time because New Englanders, like squirrels storing nuts, know we have a limited time to finish projects before we’re blasted with piles of snow.

I’ve helped my husband in the home improvement industry for years, and the most demanding people voice their complaints right when the weather turns. I suspect it has something to do with procrastinating all summer. They’re panicking because they want their home fixed before the first snowfall.

Whatever it is, life gets crazy. Deadlines, school projects, homework, business meetings, budget planning, fall sports, there are a million things that must be done yesterday, and they’re all screaming for attention. We run with our shoulders wrenched up to our earlobes, trying to subdue whichever problem wails the loudest.

Can we find peace in the madness?
 

Woman Dancing - UpSplash photo by Todd Trapani

After picking up one son from football practice, I was rushing to fix dinner so my family could eat together for fifteen minutes before I have to drive my other sons to youth group. An Ed Sheeran song, Barcelona, played in the background, as I chopped veggies. I’m a lyrics person (I tend not to notice the guitar riffs which pains my husband who plays the electric guitar), and a verse stuck out, “Get lost in the rhythm with me.”
I’m certain Ed Sheeran meant to lose yourself in dance to the music, but my heart heard a verse from The Message Bible, get lost in the unforced rhythms of grace.

Matthew 11:28-30 says: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me, and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

The stress of crazy customers, demanding bosses, and piles of homework may not go away, but that doesn’t mean we need to be stressed. We can relax into God’s rhythm because His yoke is easy and His burden is light. It doesn’t mean our workload will disappear, but we’ll find joy in our labor. We’ll catch our stride or find the zone. We can take a breath, knowing God won’t give us anything we can’t handle. He’ll multiply our time or bring others alongside to share the load.

Even if the world around us is screaming, “I’m stressed!” we can let God recover our lives. We can relax, enjoy the opportunity before us, and say, “I’m blessed.”

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Man cringing

Fear – Keeping Your Wits When Your Brain’s not Being Rational

Comic drawing of a man cringing in fear

I have an irrational fear of spiders. Before my brain can rationalize that I’m ten times bigger than the hideous, eight-legged, creepy-crawly, I’m screaming as if I’d seen the boogieman. I can’t run because if I take my eyes off the spider, it could disappear. So I track its jiggly movements, yelling for my husband to get over here and kill it.

Tarantula

Someone thought a great gift would be a remote-control tarantula for my boys. My oldest child camouflaged the spider on my black office chair. I pulled out my seat, and the motion swayed the tarantula’s legs in the eerie pattern spiders move. I belted out a scream that could shatter window panes, and in my haste to run, I tripped over my husband’s office chair. I swear there were claw marks in the carpet as I scrambled to evade the hideous monster about to jump on me and suck my blood. The boys got a good laugh.

Fear wipes out common sense.

It sends us into a panic where we’ll do unreasonable things. It also tricks us into trying to create a safe environment, shutting out people, potential, and opportunities. Our world becomes smaller, and we soon become an inmate in a prison of our making.

Fear consumes a person, keeping us from seeing the truth.

“Fear not” or “do not be afraid” is mentioned in the Bible roughly 365 times. That’s one for every day of the year. Why would God need to tell us not to be afraid so many times? I believe it’s because when we let fear rule us, we lose our ability to reason. It takes a lot more rational to get through to us, but God will go to great lengths, even repeating it 365 times if that’s what it takes.

Fear shouldn’t rule us.

2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a good mind.” Fear isn’t a part of us. We’re not stuck with it. We have the ability to live free from its chains.

Hand fear an eviction notice.  

1 John 4:4 says, “the One Who lives in you is stronger than the one who is in the world.” God is greater than any evil in this world. We must renounce fear and hand it over to God. This sounds easy, except for the control element. We’ll often hold onto our distress because we don’t want to relinquish control. We start the litany of what-ifs. What if we hit a recession? What if my son or daughter needs me? What if I make a fool of myself? What if the spider pounces…? We choose to hold tight what little control we have over the situation, instead of giving our fear to God.

Put fear into perspective

Psalm 116:8 “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Are we worried about what people will think or about how people will react? Is people-pleasing more important to us than God’s approval? If we are doing God’s will, then our fears don’t stand a chance, but we must remain calm so we can see clearly. Most of the time, the things we worry about don’t even come to fruition.

Please note: I write all this as a work in progress. Here’s an update on my spider progress – My husband will attest to me being able to see a spider and hold in my scream. I’ve even killed a few on my own.

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Gangster

We Are Dangerous – The Power of One

Gangster - Urban

We are dangerous.

Cue the bad boy music, swagger walk, and pyrotechnics.

I may not be Mad Max in Thunderdome or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in Terminator. I may only be one person, but I’ve got a sword, and I’m ready to wield it.

“We are dangerous because we know the power of a changed life.”- Jane Rubietta, author of Worry Less so We Can Live More.

We sometimes undervalue the power of one. We think I can’t make a large impact. I can’t do for everybody. I’m only one person. We get overwhelmed by the vast number of people in our schools, towns, countries, and world that are in need. But change one life, and you can change a legacy.

A Christian group of entrepreneurs and CEO’s called C12 understands the power of one. C12’s goal is to make an impact for Christ in companies and their companies’ sphere of influence. What started as one friend encouraging another has grown to five chapters across New England, and now more than 1.3 million people have the potential to be impacted when you consider the number of employees, customers, vendors, and subcontractors with whom these businessmen interact. It’s enough to bring about a revival in New England, and it all started with one Christian encouraging another to take a step of faith.

We have power.

Held up note. Never Stop Dreaming.

I have several friends who have a sixth sense to know when I’m down on myself. Somehow, they determine the exact moment my insecurities have gotten the best of me, and send me a text reminding me I’m a good mom, that I’m doing a great work, and that they’re praying for me, always when I need to hear it the most. Because of their transference of God’s love, I can pick up my sword and do battle. My sword might take the form of a computer keyboard, but The Word packs a wallop.

God is all-powerful. His arm is not too short. Yet He chooses to work through us. He understands not only the person in need but the person who needs to be blessed by helping. I don’t believe in accidents. God puts people into our lives and into the paths of others for a reason. Look around you. Who has God pushed into your sphere of influence, a neighbor, a co-worker, an old friend?

You can make an impact. All it takes is reaching out to the one person God has put on your heart. Don’t let the everyday busyness of life stop you from reaching out to one who needs to be encouraged by you. We won’t truly see how great the effect maybe until we get to heaven. Realize every time you favor someone with a smile, send a word of encouragement, show God’s love to another, your touch is creating a ripple that will impact a legacy. You, my friend, are dangerous.

To quote Schindler’s List (taken from the Jewish Talmud): “Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.”

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Pow!

Shazam Your Potential

Supergirl

What do you want to be for the rest of your life? Even typing the question gives me heart palpitations and brings back flashes of college tours, applications, and the dreaded selection of a major. There’s an urgency and finality to the inquiry that applies pressure. There’s an underlying fear we can miss our potential. But is that possible?

Yes and no.

My husband had his twenty-fifth high school reunion this past weekend, and several people mentioned in conversation that they still didn’t know what they wanted to be when they grew up. Did these people dodge the question, what do you want to be for the rest of your life? Did they choose incorrectly and are now looking for a do-over? Or did they outgrow their original answer and are now looking for the next level in the game of life?

It reminded me of the movie Shazam. Without ruining the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it, Shazam is about a boy who suddenly obtains superpowers. He, unfortunately, doesn’t know which superpowers he holds, so his buddy puts him through a series of hysterical tests to discover if he can fly, punch through concrete, shoot lasers with his eyes, or teleport. However, as the hero tries to figure out what he is capable of there is an antihero who is trying to stop him before he reaches his full potential.

Sound familiar?

1 Corinthians 12:4-11 says, Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful: wise counsel, clear understanding, simple trust, healing the sick, miraculous acts, proclamation, distinguishing between spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues. All these gifts have a common origin but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what and when.

Pow!

We all have giftings given to us by God. We’re each given different ones at different times. I can’t say if I would have made it as a writer twenty years ago. I had to develop some of my other giftings (like knowing who I am in Christ Jesus) before I could take on the next adventure. Also, like the characters in Shazam, we are our strongest when we use our powers together as a team: encouraging each other, praying for one another, and lifting each other up. We need our team around us because there is a bad guy, Satan, who is trying to keep us from utilizing our superpowers. He’ll do nothing short of lying, deceiving, and stealing to keep us from reaching our potential.

Can we miss out on our purpose? Unfortunately, yes. The devil has been around for a long time and is good at his job, but don’t fear. The one who is in us [the Holy Spirit] is greater than the one [the devil] who is in the world (1 John 4:4). We must not be afraid to test our superpowers. We must step out in faith to discover who God has made us to be so that we can fight for truth, justice, and people’s eternal souls.

Superheroes

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staning on the USS Yorkshire. proof we made it and had fun

How the Journey Resolves in the End.

Journey on a sandy beach with mountains in the background.

“The journey always resolves in the end,” Tessa Afshar, author of Pearl in the Sand and Thief of Corinth, announced in her Mediterranean-English accent as I sat in her class absorbing. She stands around five-foot-tall, but don’t be fooled by her small stature. She is a giant woman of God.

Exactly a week ago, I would have doubted her statement.

My husband had left his wallet at home. Usually, it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but we were standing in the airport and had ridden in an hour and a half of traffic to get there. Our flight left in forty minutes. We pleaded with the TSA agent and were able to come up with a couple items with my husband’s name on them, my dental insurance card in which he’s the primary cardholder and a magazine with his name and address on the back. John received the pat-down of his life and is now on an intimate basis with Logan airport security, but they allowed him on the plane. We contacted a close friend who then overnighted his wallet to the hotel.

That is where our woes should have ended, but three hours later and almost 1000 miles from home, we arrived at the hotel. We carted our bags to the front desk, ready to crash after our early morning start. I was looking forward to taking a power nap before the first session of the work conference.

The hotel clerk tapped her fingernails on the keyboard. She paused and peered up at us with a hint of concern, “Didn’t Expedia contact you?”

“About what?” my husband’s brows collided in a V.

travel map and photos with glasses and open journal

“There’s been an error.”

We both leaned in. “What sort of error?”

“Your room has been double-booked. Expedia was supposed to contact you and arrange another hotel.”

My husband and I stiffened. This was the first we heard about any of this. We checked our phones and had no messages.

“I’m sorry there’s nothing we can do for you.” Her smile hinted at sympathy. “You’ll have to call and make other hotel arrangements.”

The conference we were attending had brought over 700 entrepreneurs into the small city. There wasn’t going to be a hotel room available. Not only that, but John’s wallet was being overnighted to that specific hotel, and it wouldn’t be accepted if we weren’t guests. We didn’t have a place to sleep, and we didn’t know whether we could return home without his wallet.

Our journey didn’t look like it was going to have a resolution, certainly not a happy ending. I freaked-out. I asked to speak to a manager. I paced in the front lobby while making a few phone calls. I think I even shed a few tears. Meanwhile, my husband sat in their seating area and casually set up a portable office as if he worked there daily.

In stories, we have a character arc, which is usually where the dynamic hero is internally transformed over the course of events in the story. The journey makes them stronger, wiser, or more mature. In some way, they become different than how they started. We are all dynamic characters in the literary sense. God often uses these disasters to refine us into his image. I should have realized, as my husband did, that disasters, like being bumped from your hotel room, often end up as learning experiences (or at least a funny story I can blog about later).

Occasionally there is such a thing as a static character which in literary terms is a hero who doesn’t change (think of James Bond). The circumstances change around them, but they remain unmoved. The reason why my husband knew he didn’t need to panic was that we had a relationship with a static character. The static hero I’m referring to is Jesus. Jesus remains the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrew 13:8), and so does his love for us.  

My husband (like Tessa Afshar) knew, with Jesus, the journey always resolves in the end. My panic, worry, and frantic calling was all a waste of energy. The circumstances may have changed, but God’s will doesn’t. We ended up getting a room in the same hotel we booked with a significant discount and received our happily-ever-after (not to mention blog material).

The Lord, your God, has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.  – Deuteronomy 2:7

My husband and I on the USS Yorktown in Charleston, SC
Here we are in the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier in Charleston, SC as proof we survived and had a good time.

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boys laughing

What to Do When Laughter Hurts.

Boys laughing

Laughing actually hurts. Scientists from the University of Oxford found the contracting of the core muscles causes us pain, but our body compensates by sending out endorphins to mask the ache. It’s why when we belly-laugh too hard for too long, we’ve heard people exclaim, “Stop it hurts.” That’s because the endorphins have run out.

For my husband, the endorphins ran out after investing in a business to help some friends. He was excited about the company’s potential and had great ideas, but when he looked under the hood, issues became apparent, ranging from owner mismanagement to employee theft. No matter what he did, it seemed there was always another hurdle to jump. It came down to losing the entire investment or risking more capital to purchase the company and hope God would bless our efforts. We wondered if we’d heard God wrong. We questioned whether we’d had the right timing. Those were some dark and uncertain days. 

It’s when you come to the end of yourself – there’s no more agenda, you’re at the end of your rope, and the initial high is over – that’s when faith takes over.

After the Israelites left Babylonian captivity, they ran into resistance trying to rebuild the Lord’s temple. They figured maybe it wasn’t God’s timing, so they gave up. However, in doing so, they lost God’s favor. No matter what they did, they were unsuccessful until they put God’s agenda above theirs.

From this day forward, I will bless you. – Haggai 2:19

One of our employees who’d been reading Haggai pointed out the similarities of the Israelite’s situation and the company’s crisis. We’d been fighting so hard to survive, we forgot the reason we were in existence. From that moment forward, my husband decided we’d put God first, to the point he had Haggai 2:19 written in big letters on the wall. Everyone working for our company now knows God is the one calling the shots and to Him be the glory. The culture has changed, and things have improved slowly day by day.

Haggai 2:19 wall

If your laughter changes to pain, may you be reminded that ultimately it is God’s will we want to see done not ours, and when we rely on Him, joy comes in the morning.

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5

Angry Lion

How to Avoid the Bitter End

What is your biggest regret?

It’s one of those questions where your stomach drops out, and your brain thinks, things are about to get real. The question was raised in my small group, and I knew the answer immediately. I should have been a better friend to Jodi. We had been roommates, and she had been the maid-of-honor in my wedding. One girl’s night out, I’d been responsible for holding her car keys, and they’d somehow fallen out of my pocket. After a frustrating hour of searching, we found them in the ladies’ room, but in the process of looking, I overheard her call me stupid.

Admittedly, there are worse things to be called, but I was hurt. Instead of talking to her and trying to work things out, I acted badly and gave her the cold shoulder. My nonconfrontational way of dealing with the issue strained our relationship. We started to bicker and eventually parted ways never to speak again. Because I wasn’t willing to overlook something trivial, I ruined our friendship which I now realize was the greater of the two sins. Why didn’t I say something? Why did I let a minor issue destroy a great friendship?

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.– Proverbs 17:9

4 Oxen back to back

There’s an old Aesop’s Fable about Four Oxen and a Lion that goes something like this: A lion used to prowl about a field where four oxen lounged. He tried to attack them many times looking for a savory meal, but whenever he came near, they turned their tails to one another. Whichever way the lion approached them he was met by a pair of horns. The lion stalked off to wait. Eventually, the oxen began to argue. Each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. The Lion seized his opportunity, attacking them one by one and soon made an end of all four.

Okay, so this isn’t a happily-ever-after story, but there is a lot of meat to this tale. (Sorry I couldn’t resist the bad pun.) Bickering among friends can be deadly. It might not be a lion-gnaws-on-your-bones type of deadly, but it inevitably kills the friendship.

Friends protect each other’s backs. When we’re turned against each other, nitpicking and bickering, then our backs are exposed, making us easy prey for the devil. His main tactic is to divide and conquer so he can pick us off one by one. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Don’t become divided. Set your hurts aside, and talk things out. Don’t let bickering and bitterness destroy relationships. Don’t be like me and live with the regret of losing a good friend. Be aware of the devil’s tactics and don’t let foolishness or pride keep us from forgiving one another or extending grace. We are stronger together.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:12.

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woman coasting on bicycle

How to Avoid Coasting into Deadman’s Land

coasting on bike

One of my favorite things to do when I was younger, was ride bikes. My friends and I would pump our legs and work up a sweat getting to the top of the neighborhood hill. The reward came when we’d loop around and coast back down. I used to stand up, lock my knees, and let the wind lift my hair and whip it about like a banner behind me. It felt like true freedom. Eventually, we’d roll to a stop, turn around, and work to get back up that hill.

Famous actor, Sam Waterston, said, “If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling back.”

That is the problem with coasting. Eventually, we coast to a stop. King David, discovered this concept the hard way. In 2 Samuel 11, it says that “After the year was expired, at a time when kings go forth into battle… David tarried still in Jerusalem.” I love the word expired because it not only signals the end of something, but it gives the impression of breathing out, like a long sigh after a hard day’s work. David had seen many battles with his mighty men. He was war-torn and probably exhausted. He decided to sit one out, and who can blame him?

C.S. Lewis in his book, The Screwtape Letters, eloquently demonstrates the idea that the devil’s best weapon in his arsenal is complacency. If he can get us to coast, eventually, we’ll roll to a stop. We’ll forget our purpose, become bored, and that’s when the trap is set. For David, the trap was a lovely woman bathing on the rooftop, named Bathsheba.

mountain biking uphill

I’m not saying don’t coast. We need to celebrate our successes, take a breather, and let the wind whip through our hair. However, don’t roll to a stop. Give God the glory, then turn that bike around and climb the hill again. Be on your guard while you’re coasting. Don’t become complacent. Don’t let boredom lead you down a dark path. Don’t get stuck at the bottom of the hill. Rethink taking a break if you’re prone to losing motivation. Whether it’s in work, personal, or your spiritual life, push yourself to keep growing, learning, and seeking God’s face.

Keep your eyes on Jesus and keep moving forward, that way you don’t wake up one day and look around wondering how you got so far from all the things you once valued.

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man with drawn muscles

How to Handle a Bully

words describing a bully

I was petrified of a bully on my bus. She looked tough, acted tough, and sounded tough. She dressed in all black and always sat in the back of the bus. I intentionally avoided sitting near her and never made eye contact lest I became her next victim. I stayed off her radar, until one day, she needed a quarter. She asked the people around her, but either no one had one, or they wouldn’t give it to her. She started moving up the aisle seat to seat saying she needed a quarter. I could tell something was wrong. She looked a little paler than normal. Her voice was a tad more shrill. She seemed panicked. She passed by, overlooking me. (That’s how good I’d gotten at going unnoticed.) But something inside me told me to give her a quarter.

“Wait!” I yelled.
 Her head whipped around, and a pair of dark eyes locked on me.
“I have a quarter.” I dug into my backpack, pulled out a quarter, and handed it to her.
She took it, issued me a nod, and got off at the next stop.

The next day I was standing at my locker when I heard “Hey!” I turned around to see her walking with her friends. She held my gaze. I fought to keep my knees from shaking while she walked by me. I was now on her radar. So much for doing the right thing, I berated myself. Then the oddest thing happened. After her friends passed, she glanced back at me over her shoulder and waved with a smile.

I can’t remember smiling or waving back. I think I was too dumbfounded to move. I just stared at her as she walked down the hall. From that day forward, she always waved to me. We never held a conversation or socialized, but she had become an ally.

Over the weekend, my sister-in-law, Liz, and I discussed how to handle bullies. This Tuesday marked the first week of school for our kids, so I thought it might be helpful to impart some of her wisdom. Here’s what we decided to tell our children:

Man with chalkboard drawn muscles
  • It’s never wrong to do the right thing – It’s good to defend the defenseless. Our courage must be stronger than our complacency. Standing by and watching a bully only makes them stronger.
  • Know who you are and who you represent – Be confident in the person God has created you to be. No matter what a bully says, God made you beautiful, and He made you for a purpose. He has great plans for you. Plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • Stand bold and speak loud – Bullies feed on weakness. If you stand tall, speak clearly and firmly, often they will back down.
  • Don’t take yourself for seriously – Bullies can often be set off-guard especially if you can laugh at yourself. They’re trying to upset you, but if you can take their insults and joke about it, they won’t know what to do. If they say your shirt is ugly, say “yep, the 1980s called this morning and asked for it back.”
  • Remember bullies are broken people – Bullies bully to feel more powerful. The reason they need power is because they feel insecure. Someone has hurt them in their past, and they essentially are crying out for help. Remember that God also created them and He loves them. If you see a need or an opportunity to help them, it can go a long way as a peace offering, but it can also be a way to show them a bit of God’s love. Sometimes all it takes is a small gesture, like giving them a quarter.

This advice doesn’t necessarily apply to cyberbullying. Technology takes things to the next level fast. Sometimes too fast for a young person to fully understand the danger and the consequences. It’s always good to discuss situations where you believe you’ve been bullied with an adult, trusted friend, or in some cases the authorities. You don’t have to struggle with a bully alone. Remember you are the head, not the tail (Deuteronomy 28:13), that you are to be a light to the world – a city on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14-16), and part of a chosen people, holy and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12). This is truth, and nothing a bully can say or do will change it.

For more information on bullying go to https://www.stopbullying.gov/.

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