Tough Relationships
Lysa TerKeurst

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand that he may lift you up in due time." 1 Peter 5:6 (NIV)

Do you ever feel like relationships are hard to navigate sometimes? Are you in the midst of trying to figure out a situation that's complicated, messy and unpredictable?

Sometimes I try so hard to figure out just the right words to say and talk through a situation. While talking is good, sometimes the conversations start running in a circle and there aren't any productive words left to say. When this happens it can make a girl feel like giving up. But before I give up, I've learned to hush up.

Spending some time getting quiet can really be the best remedy for tangled situations. Taking a step back from all the emotion, frustration, and exhaustion to sit quietly with Jesus will do more to untangle a mess than anything else I've ever found.

Here are five beautiful things that can happen in the quiet:

1. In the quiet, we can feel safe enough to humble ourselves.

In the heat of a mess, the last thing I want to do is get humble. I want to get loud and prove my point. I've learned I have to step out of the battle and humbly ask God to speak truth to my heart for things to start to make sense. Never have I had a relationship issue where I didn't contribute at least something to the problem. Usually, I can only see this something in the quiet.

1 Peter 5:6, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand..." (NIV)

2. In the quiet, God will lift us up to a more rational place.

When we are in the heat of a tangled mess, crazy emotions drag us down into a pit of hopelessness. The only way out of the pit is to make the choice to stop digging deeper and turn to God for a solution.

1 Peter 5:6 continued, "...that he may lift you up in due time." (NIV)

3. In the quiet, anxiety gives way to progress.

We can pour our anxious hearts out to Jesus who loves us right where we are, how we are. And because His love comes without judgment, we can feel safe enough to humbly admit we need Jesus to work on us. Trying to fix another person will only add to my anxiety. Letting Jesus work on me is where real progress can happen.

1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (NIV)

4. In the quiet, we see our real enemy isn't the person with whom we're in conflict.

This person with whom we're in this tangled mess feels like the enemy. They might even look like the enemy. But the truth is, they aren't the real culprit here. Satan's influence on both me and the person offending me is the real culprit. I can't realize this in the heat of the moment. But in the quiet, I become alert and can gain a strategy for acting and reacting in a more self-controlled manner.

1 Peter 5:8-9a, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith..." (NIV)

5. In the quiet, I can rest assured God will use this conflict for good- no matter how it turns out.

If I make the effort to handle this conflict well, I can be freed from the pressure to make everything turn out rosy. Sometimes relationships grow stronger through conflict. But other times relationships end. Because I can't control the other person, I must keep focusing on the good God is working out in me through this and leave the outcome with Him.

1 Peter 5:10-11, "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen." (NIV)

In the end, this entire struggle can be used by God to make me stronger and more capable in my relationships. If I am humble enough to receive from Him in the quiet what He wants to teach me through this, I can rest assured with whatever the outcome is.

Dear Lord, help me to stop trying to figure this situation out and just sit in the quiet with You for a while. God humble me. Help me see Your perspective. Show me Your steps toward restoration. Or show me Your steps toward a healthy parting. Take my anxiety and replace it with Your peace, wisdom, and security. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa’s blog for a list of Bible verses that are a must read for times of conflict!

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst. If you enjoyed this devotion, you’ll love doing Lysa’s new book, Bible study and DVD teaching series. There’s a whole section on relationships where you’ll learn the cure for envy and other relationship killers.

What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
How might applying the truths in this devotion help you today? Have you discovered anything else good that happens in the quiet? Let's talk about it on my blog today.

One of the most crucial parts of this is to realize my real enemy isn't this person with whom I am having this conflict. How does this help? Keeping this in mind, write out a prayer for this person. Sometimes praying for someone who I'm frustrated with softens my hearts and lets me see new possibilities for restoration.

Power Verses:
1 Peter 5:6, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand..." (NIV)

1 Peter 5:7, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (NIV)

1 Peter 5:8-9a, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith..." (NIV)

© 2010 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank u so much for this devotion. i have been battling with a personal relationship and everytime i leave the situation feeling like such a horrible person.
I took some time to be by myself, i have to admit that it has improved the relationship. It is a constant battle for me right now but im trusting God to lead me to have a disciplined heart to what God wants me to do.
Thank you for this devotion, i stand in awe of God and how he uses people from all parts of the world, just to speak to my heart.... you have been a blessing to me today. Please keep me in ur prayers.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks again for your timely message...God is continuing to teach me to "Be still and know that He is God"....

The "be still" part takes a whole heap of wrestlin' my thoughts and pinning them down (and sitting on them) :)

Truly, relationship stuff can be thank you for ideas & how to's....I really appreciate them!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So true. Amen and amen.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unbelievable! God works in wonderful ways...thank you for this devotion. I continue to be amazed at how God speaks in my life:)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For nearly two years now my marriage has been under attack by Satan. While we have made huge, huge progress in the past three months I, too, struggle with knowing when to stop and be silent. I push too hard and end up making things worse. We were struggling again this morning and when I saw your devotional I couldn't believe my eyes! God truly puts people into our paths to help and support us! I've shared your prayer with my husband. Thank you for your ministry! Please pray for us?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a situation at my work where our manager that is over us plays favoritism to a certain person. Another lady and I feel real frustrated about this. I am a Christian where she is not. I know that God can change things, but I sometimes let her influence me with what she says. I can get really heated over this situation sometimes. Please pray for me that I can be an overcomer in this situation. Thanks for the devotion.

Anonymous Jessica said...

I am not currently in the midst of any major relationship struggles, but MAN -- I know this could have helped in the past, and it will be good to remember next time I am!! I have such a tendency to want to keep talking things out to no end, and some of the times that have worked out the best have been when I finally shut up! Thanks for this.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this, I am going through this struggle right now. I have attempted to reconile with a certain person and instead of telling me a yes or no, they sent a card with platitudes written in them. I don't even know what to think. All I can go is be still and wait on the Lord.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only say wow! Thank you for the devotion. Thank you LORD, the one and only one who knows my struggles and my deep thoughts. As a teacher I am struggling with a group of students in one of my classes whom I feel are ganging up against me. I feel frustrated and trodden on. Because of this there are momemts I dread going to this class.Today I have been asking God where did things go wrong with this group which seems to be growing exponentilly by day, what should I do to improve the relationship, Will there ever be a working relationship with this group of students. Thank you for reminding me to just give the situation to God, I cant change people, I cant change myself, Its God and only God Jehovah Nisi who has the power to change people and situations. I leave everything in God's hands!

This of course was so timely...would I expect anything less of God's timing? No!

Although I personally am not in the midst of a tangled relationship, many around me are and they are struggling, my heart hurts for them. This devotion navigates the reader in the direction of safe harbor, where else but God's sovereign words and places accountability on those who are dealing with relational messes. It is easy to forget that we play a role in our relationships too.

Awesome post and one I will revisit many times.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this devotion! It always amazes me how God always know just what I need to hear. My husband and I have been struggling for a few weeks now over some issues. This just reminded me how I need to step back, shut up and "be still" in His Presence.
Our first year of marriage has had many many challenges thrown our way. A job loss, a major surgery, and having mold in home just to name a few. But I know that God is making our marriage stronger. We are building our foundation for whatever challenges may come our way in the future.
Thank you for your ministry!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, Sister! The devotional speaks EXACTLY to what the Lord impressed upon me about a year ago! I was obsessing in prayer over the relationship (or lack thereof) between me and my step children. The Lord told me to surrender it to Him, to focus on Him, not them, and to let Him work on me. Taking that step back from the emotions and frustrations of that relationship to focus on Jesus was the best thing I've done! It has taught me to turn to Him first during those frustrating, hurtful times, to take every thought captive during the times I am angry at the steps, and to rest in Him and Him alone. Being obedient to that one thing He told me last year has had such a domino effect of spiritual growth in my life. I am so thankful that He is the all sufficient one!

Anonymous jenn said...

thanks, the word of encouragement was right on time.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thakyou for this...God bless you!

I have definitely seen much of this play out in my own life in the last year because of some difficult circumstances and relationships.

Blogger Community Blog said...

I have needed to read this for quite some time. It is difficult to come to the Lord when you're so tired, but He tells us to... let us approach his throne with confidence for He is the one that gives us rest.

Blogger Sheila Namakula said...

Thank you so much for this timely message. When I read it I felt it was God's answer to me directly regarding a situation that I am in. I'm struggling to quiet myself and be still but trusting God to help me. For now I'll wait to see the good that's waiting on the other end of this situation. It will be good I beleive. God Bless you and keep and your family.

Blogger T-Reese said...

Thank you so much for the words of encouragement. I am constantly dealing with being humble especially in my marriage. I may "seem" humble but the truth is in my heart, I am not as humble as people may think. I truly do have to pray and learn to be not just quiet by mouth but quiet in my thoughts as well as God transforms me into a better Proverbial woman.

Blogger T-Reese said...

Thank you so much for the words of encouragement. I am constantly dealing with being humble especially in my marriage. I may "seem" humble but the truth is in my heart, I am not as humble as people may think. I truly do have to pray and learn to be not just quiet by mouth but quiet in my thoughts as well as God transforms me into a better Proverbial woman.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I just couldn't believe how every single word of this devotion describes in accuracy the situation I'm in. I find it hugely encouraging to think that you don't come across these things by chance but that they are sent right out, directly into your reading path - amazing! I am so pained by a relationship failure which has taken a turbulent path over the past two years and is so tied up with faith issues.We're both tired, we're both hurting and it seems from a human point of view that it would be impossible to mend.We both wanted so much and it feels like it's all slipped away. It's also so hard to sit on your feelings and "wait" for God to answer.(But hey, to Anon in the second posting do make me smile...yes, "a whole heap of wrestlin'" to pin own thoughts down and sit on them!) I know that God will work this out to his purpose and to the good in the end. It pains my heart to pray the bit about a "healthy parting" for it's not what I want deep down. We have been apart for a number of months now and although it has been far from easy to ride the emotions out, I definately feel it has been of spiritual gain and my quiet time alone with God was and still is, necessary.Whether or not we ever come back together( and it is a tangled mess) I hope and pray for the strength to accept the outcome. Will pray also for everybody here. X

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I prayed before I read your message this morning that God would speak to me. I have been having a hard time knowing what to do next. This devotion spoke just what I needed to hear. Be still, humble yourselves before God, and even though you may suffer a little, in due time he will lift you up...exactly what I needed to hear! Thank you!

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