Tag Archive | honoring loved ones

Healing From Pet Loss ~ Part 2

Experiencing a pet’s death can be very painful. It can also be painful to physically lose a pet through a divorce or if the pet wanders away.

When I talk to those who have experienced losing a much loved pet, they share how tough their experience has been. Some have been offered love, encouragement, and support, while others have not.

Perhaps, people are not quite sure what to say or do after a pet dies, because they’ve never lost a special pet. They just don’t “get it” or understand the heartache that transpires. They may have never experienced a close relationship with a pet…even if they have had a pet. 

People are also extremely busy these days. We live in a microwave society…everything is instant. And if something isn’t quick and easy, some people will choose to not get involved. Life seems to always be in one mode: fast forward.

Personally, until our recent puppy’s death, I never thought to call family or friends to see how they were doing during their grief after they experienced pet loss. I was clueless how painful losing a pet could be. I previously thought you cried for a few days and then carried on.

Boy, was I wrong.

But once you know better, you then are able to do better.

This blog post is Part 2 of a 4-part series on pet loss. After the death of our much loved and treasured pet’s death, my heart certainly goes out to anyone who has experienced losing a pet. To read our family’s story about the life and death of our son’s two-year old puppy, and our background with pets, check out Part 1 of this series on pet loss. 

We were very blessed to have support from our loved ones, which certainly has helped our grieving process. 

Others are not so lucky. Not everyone receives support…and, like me previously, not everyone knows what to say or do.

After talking to others who have been through pet loss, I want to offer some ideas of how to encourage those who have experienced a pet’s death – that way people can better know how to be there for their family and friends through their grief.

Anyone who reads this will have the ability to encourage their family and friends who have experienced a pets death…and it will mean so very much to them.

Disclaimer: Like I said in my first post about pet loss, I know by writing about pet loss, I run the risk of a non-pet lover rolling their eyes (I used to do the same, so no worries)…and I also may be criticized by those who are experiencing human loss. I’d like to assure my Grief Bites readers that I am not saying pet loss is worse than losing a human being. To some, it may be worse; to others it may not be. Each and every grief experience is unique and completely different – no two people will go through or experience grief in the exact same way. Whether it is a human being or a pet, this is an absolute truth every griever can agree on: The greater the investment, the greater the love — and the greater the love, the greater the grief. I sincerely hope this series on pet loss is a great comfort to anyone who is mourning – or who will be mourning – their much-loved pet, and it is my prayer these posts are not offensive to anyone in the grief community.❤️As with any grief experience, I look at it as an opportunity to share what I’m learning through my experiences, in hopes it can help encourage whoever needs it. I count it a privilege to help others through all grief and loss issues. 

Here are a few ideas of how to help a loved one through the death or loss of their pet.

How To Help & Encourage Someone Through Pet Loss~

•Seek to understand– Many people think of their pet(s) as family…their baby. They’re continually around them every second they’re home. They snuggle with them most nights, and many people’s pets even share the same bed with them. So when the pet dies, their presence is terribly missed. Since their home holds many memories of their pet, too, a person’s couch, bed, and every room in their house may feel empty. Memories are everywhere. When they get home, their pet is no longer there to greet them. It can be very tough the first few weeks or months.

•If the pet helped them through a tough time or a grief experience, the loss of the pet is going to be much more devastating- When a pet is “there” for their human during grief or loss, the pet and human develop a very strong bond. Some people may even become closer to their pets than their human relationships if the pet has helped them through grief. I know of a man whose grandchild was lost during the pregnancy. A few months later, when a new “grand-dog” entered the picture, he said his heart was greatly comforted every time he was around the new puppy. Sometimes, he’d puppy-sit for his daughter and take the dog fishing with him each weekend. The new dog truly helped him through that tough time. When a dog dies during or after a grief circumstance, please realize the pet’s death is profoundly sad to the pet owner.

•Call your family member or friend whose pet died and realize they’ll grieve for awhile due to triggers– Check up on them periodically. Just like all grief experiences, the grief comes in layers when someone loses a pet. There are ups and downs just like traditional grief. I cried horribly the first few weeks after my son’s puppy died. Then I seemed to be doing much better…until I was driving and saw the Starbucks where I used to get Pupuccinos for him. It brought all of the sadness back up. Grief, whether it’s a human loss or a pet loss, comes in waves…and you never know when a wave will hit you without warning.

Offer to bring your family member or friend dinner, or offer to take them out for coffee…and just be there to care- Not many people will offer compassion to those who have experienced a pet’s death. It’s not that they’re heartless…like I said, they may just not “get” how painful it can be. You can offer to bring coffee or dinner to your family or friends when they lose a pet. A few weeks after our puppy’s death, some of my friends lost their dog. To offer comfort some friends who just went through pet loss, I ordered and paid for dinner and had it delivered to them. I know how hard the first several days were after our dog’s death…I wanted to let them know that somebody cared. This special family was the first to offer to help us with our puppy when we first got him…they helped us so much. I know their hearts were heartbroken after their sweet dog’s death.

Actively show your condolences- Don’t only call or text your loved one, buy a card…send flowers…make a donation to a local shelter in memory/honor of their precious fur angel…offer to help them plant a memorial tree…if you have photos, make a mini scrapbook of the pet to give as a thoughtful gift. The ways to show you care are endless. As with any loss, take the time to actively care.

•When you do something kind, it will always be remembered- Right after we euthanized my son’s puppy, my mom and sister came to the vet. I didn’t even know they were coming, but it truly meant so much to me. As my son held his dog, right after putting him to sleep, I wanted to give him and his puppy some time alone. As I walked out of the room, it was a nice surprise to see my mom and sister..and so good to have a shoulder to cry on. I underestimated how tough the euthanasia would be on us. After the euthanasia, later that night, one of my nieces called to check on us and another niece brought a dog over to play with our other dogs, too. Our family received cards and phone calls as well. I will always be grateful to those who actively cared by showing up and those who offered us compassion. It really meant a lot. 

NEVER say anything to minimize a pet owner’s grief such as, “It’s just a dog” or “You can always get a new pet”- And please do not get them a new pet as a gift unless you talk to them first- They can’t replace the feelings they shared with their pet or duplicate the relationship they built. Most likely, it took years to build it. The reason they’re hurting so badly is because they are grieving the years they “did life” with their pet. Plus, another pet may not have similar personality traits. It’s also not fair to a new pet to place such high expectations on them; any new pet needs to be loved for the unique individual they are. When in doubt, just be there and simply say, “I’m really sorry. Please know I am here. Anytime you’d like to talk, call me.” Your loved one will know when it’s the right time to get a new furry friend….and they’ll appreciate any kind words you can offer them.

If you’re close enough to the person who lost a pet, and you know they cremated their pet or have fur clippings, consider doing something meaningful- I’d suggest inviting them to go somewhere meaningful to sprinkle some of their pet’s ashes at a special place. If the pet had a favorite blanket, you could ask the owner if they’d like for you to have it made into a pillow. You can also buy a necklace or bracelet for the pet owner that they can wear in honor and memory of their pet. We had our vet clip some of our puppy’s fur off after he passed away and I’m taking the fur to Build-A-Bear to be built into stuffed animals that have a clear, see-through heart…one for our son and one for me…so we can “hug” a part of our puppy when we miss him. If your loved one feels up to it, consider inviting them to do something meaningful like this, too.

Realize the inner turmoil your loved one may be going through– When a person has to make the painful decision to euthanize their pet, they’re responsible for ensuring the best interests of their furry best friend. Often times, there is a lot of second guessing…”did we do it at the right time…did we do it prematurely?” If the pet loss was sudden, they may wonder, “did I do all I could do to comfort, help, and save them?” A pet owner may feel deep feelings of guilt, depression, anger, or intense sadness after a pet’s death. They may even blame themselves for not realizing an illness sooner or not having the ability to save their pet’s life. Please take the time to see where your loved one is in their grief process. 

These are just a few suggestions of how to help and encourage a loved one who goes through a pet’s death.

Even if you’re not an animal lover or a “pet person,” these ideas will most likely be very meaningful to your loved ones after they experience losing their furry friend.

Compassion, love, and empathy are what’s important. Always be the compassion today that you hope to receive in the future.

My next blog post in this series will share ideas of how to carefully plan and create the prefect last day for your pet, and also how to create a peaceful experience with your pet’s euthanasia. If you have a pet, you will not want to miss these very important tips and safeguards. There are some lessons we learned the hard way. The next post will help to alleviate future regrets.

Gratitude, healing, & many blessings,
🐾❤️Kim

©2017 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️🐾If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

🐾❤️For more encouragement:

❤️🐾Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

🐾❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

❤️🐾Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

🐾❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️🐾FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

Grief & Travel

Travel is easily one of my favorite topics. 

Growing up, my parents made travel and traveling experiences a priority for our family. We took many weekend trips and weeklong vacations to several destinations. My husband’s parents also did the same as he grew up.

My husband and I appreciated the travel opportunities and experiences our parents blessed us with, so we also have made travel a priority for our family.

Some of our favorite places to travel for the weekend or for a week long trip have been Disney World (Florida), Disneyland (California), Ireland, Tennessee (Smokey Mountains/Gatlinburg), Texas, Destin, New York City, Costa Rica, and other places.

Each place we have been holds many great memories, but Disney World has always held great value in our hearts since it is the last place we vacationed with my sister right before she died. Two months before my sister passed away, my parents, my sister and her family, my other sister, and my family and I all went to Disney World in Florida. 

After my sister’s death, we have taken my sister’s children to Disney World in honor and memory of their mother since she loved and adored Disney World and all things Disney.

I actually vacationed at Disney with my parents, sister, and my niece (my sister’s oldest daughter) and my niece’s sweet family just this year. My own family elected to stay home due to work and school commitments, but it was nice to have time with my niece and her family, and my parents and sister. 

I’m a big advocate of travel, whether it’s learning opportunities while traveling or relaxing or fun vacations. There’s just something special about getting away with loved ones as you leave the world and your cares behind while creating special life-long memories.

Vacations can be:

  • Weekend trips
  • Extended weekend trips
  • Road trips
  • Week long getaways 
  • Cruises 
  • Camping
  • Staycations at home
  • Any amount of time, at any destination 

The primary objective is to clear your schedule so you can focus on God, family, friends, relaxation, learning and fun!

I’m also a big advocate for taking vacations to honor and remember a lost loved one. We have had many special times and made great memories in doing so. 

One special lady in my grief group recently lost her much treasured adult child. She and her husband have decided to travel to places they know their child would have enjoyed traveling to in their child’s memory and honor. At each location, they are sprinkling some of their precious child’s ashes. How amazing and beautiful is that? 

What places do you enjoy traveling to? Which destinations have you always wanted to travel to? Do you have a Bucket List of places you’d like to travel? What cultures would you most like to experience?

If you would like to travel to places in memory or honor of a treasured loved one, what places were dear to your loved one’s heart? Where would they have most liked to traveled?

The first year after my sister’s death when we traveled back to Disney, it was emotionally tough. I’m really glad our family chose to continue to go to Disney World though. What started out as a vacation to remember and honor my sister, ended up transitioning into new experiences and great opportunities for our family to grow closer and create NEW memories.

Travel is amazing and something my family and I love to enjoy and do! 

I will be sharing about creating a travel budget in a new blog post soon. I’ve never paid full price for any vacation I have been on except for one. If you love travel, or are interested in travel, you’ll definitely want to check back soon!

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim 

❤️If you were encouraged by this post or found it helpful, please feel free to share it to encourage and help others!

For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617 

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships 

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed 

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites 

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

😊

Conflict Resolution (Pt 3)- 75 Character Qualities That Can Change Your Life

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” ~Helen Keller

Grief, conflict, hardships, struggles, and suffering are opportune times to develop personal character because through each of these circumstances, character is revealed…and tested…the most.

The key to changing every aspect of  life…including conflict resolution…is developing solid character because character and success go hand in hand. 

Show me a person who has solid character and I’ll show you someone who handles grief circumstances and conflict wisely, as well as marriage, parenting, career, and relationship issues.

The amount of character one develops in life directly influences how much success they will enjoy…in their spiritual walk, personal life, marriage, family, finances, relationships, career—basically everything!

A lack of character is quite costly because character is a derivative of the heart…and the heart is the single greatest indicator of what we will choose to do with EVERY area of our lives.

 

Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

 

Why is character so vitally important? Because character affects ourselves and everyone we come into contact with. Character is singlehandedly the greatest impact a person can have in this world.

 

The following character list is great to go by when:

  • developing personal character
  • going through grief or hardships
  • experiencing conflict
  • looking for a dating/marriage partner
  • training your children
  • interviewing a potential staff member
  • living life

Whatever conflict you are experiencing right now, consider which character trait has been violated. After discovering which trait has not been honored, you then will be free to begin developing the character trait to bring about restoration.

Ask God to reveal to your heart how to best develop each character trait below. As you read each character trait, ask yourself how you can effectively develop each trait so it can truly become a part of your regular day-to-day life.

 

75 Character Qualities That Can Change Your Life
1. Alertness vs. Unawareness– Being aware of that which is taking place around me so I can have the right response to it (Mark 14:38)

2. Attentiveness vs. Unconcern Showing the worth of a person by giving undivided attention to his words and emotions (Hebrews 2:1)

3. Availability vs. Self-centeredness– Making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of God and those I am serving (Philippians 2:20–21)

4. Boldness vs. Fearfulness– Confidence that what I have to say or do is true and right and just in the sight of God (Acts 4:29)

5. Cautiousness vs. Rashness– Knowing how important right timing is in accomplishing right actions (Proverbs 19:2)

6. Communication vs. Lacking Communication– Willingly, kindly, and clearly communicating my thoughts, ideas, concerns, and needs with others while allowing them to clearly communicate their needs, ideas, concerns, and thoughts as well (Ephesians 4:25-29)

7. Compassion vs. Indifference (I John 3:17)- Investing whatever is necessary to heal the hurts of others.

8. Community vs. Isolation– Treating my family the very best I possibly can (realizing God specifically placed them in my life) and also seeking out a great church and wise friends to “do life” with (Hebrews 10:24-25)

9. Contentment vs. Covetousness Realizing that God has provided everything I need for my present happiness, and not comparing myself or my life to others (I Timothy 6:8)

10. Cooperation vs. Rebellion Doing my part to harmoniously respect, obey, and cooperate with God,  as well as all the authority figures, law enforcement, and people (spouse, parents, elders, family, employers, church) God has placed in my life, and wisely choosing not to rebel against scripture or legitimate guidelines, laws, rules, and boundaries (Hebrews 13:17, Romans 13:1-5, Ephesians 6:1-3)

11. Courage vs. Cowardice– Choosing to face any obstacle in life with courage so as not to run away from hardships or responsibilities (Philippians 4:13)

12. Courtesy vs. Rudeness Extending respect, kindness, and courtesy to everyone I come into contact with–regardless of their behavior (Ephesians 4:32)

13. Creativity vs. Underachievement/Dullness Approaching a need, a task, an idea from a new perspective (Romans 12:2)  and considering all of the creative ways to implement a bright outcome

14. Decisiveness vs. Double-mindedness- The ability to finalize difficult decisions based on the will and ways of God (James 1:5)

15. Dedication vs. Wavering Establishing a razor sharp focus and dedication in my relationships with God and others, as well as my life purpose, for God’s glory (Colossians 3:17)

16. Deference vs. Rudeness- Limiting my own personal freedom in order to not offend the tastes of those whom God has called me to serve (Romans 14:21) and showing proper respect and honor to others above my own selfish interests or inclinations

17. Dependability vs. Inconsistency– Fulfilling what I consented to do even if it means unexpected sacrifice (Psalm 15:4)

18. Determination vs. Faintheartedness– Purposing to accomplish God’s goals in God’s time regardless of the opposition (II Timothy 4:7–8)

19. Diligence vs. Slothfulness Visualizing each task as a special assignment from the Lord and using all my energies to accomplish it (Colossians 3:23)

20. Discernment vs. Judgment– The God-given ability to understand why things happen (I Samuel 16:7)

21. Discretion vs. Simplemindedness The ability to avoid words, actions, and attitudes which could result in undesirable consequences (Proverbs 22:3)

22. Empathy vs. Hard-heartedness/Aloofness Taking the time to genuinely care about others and see things from their perspective by choosing to put myself in their “shoes” and truly taking the time to see how my words and actions could possibly affect them (Colossians 3:12, Romans 12:15)

23. Endurance vs. Giving up The inward strength to withstand stress to accomplish God’s best (Galatians 6:9)

24. Enthusiasm/Excellence vs. Apathy– Expressing with my soul the joy of my spirit (I Thessalonians 5:16,19) and seeking to live my life and use all of my talents to the best of my ability

25. Faith vs. Presumption- Visualizing what God intends to do in a given situation and acting in harmony with it (Hebrews 11:1)

26. Faithfulness vs. Unfaithfulness- Being, and remaining, committed to the people and responsibilities God has entrusted to me and refusing to cheat God, them, or myself out of God’s best (Proverbs 3:3, Luke 16:10)

27. Flexibility vs. Resistance- Not setting my affections on ideas or plans which could be changed by God or others (Colossians 3:2)

28.Forgiveness vs. Bitterness/Rejection– Clearing the record of those who have wronged me and allowing God to love them through me (Ephesians 4:32)

29. Generosity/Hospitality vs. Stinginess Realizing that all I have belongs to God and using it for His purposes (II Corinthians 9:6)

30. Gentleness vs. Harshness Showing personal care and concern in meeting the need of others (I Thessalonians 2:7)

31. Gratefulness vs. Unthankfulness– Making known to God and others in what ways they have benefited my life (I Corinthians 4:7)

32. Honesty vs. LyingCommitting to live a life of truth by being honest with God, myself, and others, and resisting the temptation to tell outright lies, white lies, or partial truths (1 Peter 3:10, Colossians 3:9)

33. Honor vs. Dishonor- Choosing to live a life of honor by being honorable in all of my thoughts, actions, words, and deeds, and highly honoring those God has placed in my life–especially family (Psalm 1, Colossians 3:17)

34. Hospitality vs. Loneliness Cheerfully sharing food, shelter, and spiritual refreshment with family and friends (Hebrews 13:2)

35. Humility vs. Pride Recognizing that it is actually God and others who are responsible for the achievements in my life (James 4:6)

36. Humor/Fun vs. Coldness- Choosing to see the goodness, enjoyment, fun, and humor life has to offer with those God has placed in my life in spite of circumstances (Psalm 27:13, Ecclesiastes 3:1-22)

37. Initiative vs. Unresponsiveness– Recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it (Romans 12:21)

38. Integrity vs. Lack of character- Choosing to live a life of character even when it becomes difficult, realizing that who I am in private reveals my true integrity (Psalm 18:25, Psalm 119:1, Proverbs 2:6-8)

39. Joyfulness vs. Self-pity– The spontaneous enthusiasm of my spirit when my soul is in fellowship with the Lord (Psalm 16:11)

40. Justice vs. Fairness– Keeping myself “in check” and committing to living out personal responsibility to God’s unchanging laws (Micah 6:8)

41. Kindness vs. Harshness– Choosing to be kind in all I do, and maintaining a soft kind heart to others, as well as refusing to be harsh or hardhearted (Luke 6:31, Colossians 3:12-14)

42. Knowledge vs. SimplemindednessMaking the decision to be in awe of God and better myself every single day by learning as much as I can so as to avoid living an unwise simpleminded life (Proverbs 18:15, Proverbs 1:7)

43. Leadership vs. Wavering– Using my leadership wisely by investing in and encouraging those underneath my leadership in every way I can to ensure their success (Titus 1:7-14)

44. Love vs. Selfishness Choosing to love God, and my family and friends extravagantly, and giving to others’ basic needs without having as my motive personal reward (I Corinthians 13:3)

45. Loyalty vs. Unfaithfulness Using difficult times to demonstrate my commitment to God and to those whom He has called me to serve (John 15:13) and being loyal to my family and friends

46. Meekness vs. Anger– Yielding my personal rights and expectations to God (Psalm 62:5) and using anger as a signal to warn me of possible self-centeredness

47. Mercy vs. Judgment Choosing to be the mercy and compassion to others today that I would want to receive myself tomorrow (Luke 6:36, Matthew 5:7)

48. Obedience vs. Willfulness Freedom to be creative under the protection of divinely appointed authority (II Corinthians 10:5) as well as going out of my way to respect authority

49. Orderliness vs. Disorganization– Preparing myself and my surroundings so I will achieve the greatest efficiency (I Corinthians 14:40)

50. Patience vs. Restlessness– Accepting a difficult situation from God without giving Him a deadline to remove it (Romans 5:3–4)

51. Peace vs. Contention/Disharmony– Choosing to honor God by being a peacemaker and creating harmony in difficult relationships and situations (II Timothy 2:24)

52. Persuasiveness vs. Contentiousness– Guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks without being offensive or disrespectful (II Timothy 2:24)

53. Punctuality vs. Tardiness Showing high esteem for other people and their time (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

54. Purpose vs. Lack of Focus- Finding out and fulfilling my life purpose, as well as the purpose for any project I am serving on with others, so as to bring ultimate glory to God in my life (Isaiah 43:7, Psalm 139:13-16, Philippians 2:1-4)

55. Purity of Motives vs. Manipulation– Resisting the urge to manipulate people or situations by continually allowing God to purify and refine my heart and motives to be inline with God’s Word and His Will (Zechariah 13:9, Ephesians 5:26)

56. Resilience vs. Quitting/Cowardice- Developing tenacity and refusing to quit while going through trials or hardships and purposefully seeking out God’s heart so that He can refresh and lift me up in His timing…and realizing God has the power to work everything together for the good of every situation (Joshua 1:9, Romans 8:28)

57. Resourcefulness vs. Wastefulness Wise use of that which others would normally overlook or discard (Luke 16:10)

58. Responsibility vs. Unreliability– Knowing and doing what both God and others are expecting from me (Romans 14:12)

59. Restoration vs. Incompleteness– Taking upon myself the responsibility to seek out restoration with God, others, and circumstances when I have been offensive or hurtful to others…and while initiating restoration, allowing God to restore me (Jeremiah 17:14, 2 Chronicles 7:14)

60. Reverence vs. Disrespect– Awareness of how God is working through the people and events in my life to produce the character of Christ in me (Proverbs 23:17–18)

61. Safety vs. Neglectfulness– Taking the time to do my responsibilities the right way and ensuring the safety of others as well as myself (Colossians 3:23)

62. Security vs. Anxiety– Structuring my life around that which is eternal and cannot be destroyed or taken away (John 6:27)

63. Self-Control vs. Self-indulgence Instant obedience to the initial promptings of God’s Spirit as well as obeying God’s Word (Galatians 5:24–25)

64. Sensitivity vs. Callousness– Exercising my senses so I can perceive the true spirit and emotions of those around me (Romans 12:15)

65. Servant’s Heart vs. Taking– Looking for ways to serve God, my family, and others (above myself) so that I can fully invest in them, make a positive impact, and benefit their life (Matthew 23:11, 1 Timothy 5:8, Philippians 2:1-11)

66. Sincerity vs. Hypocrisy/Insincerity Eagerness to do what is right with transparent motives (I Peter 1:22)

67. Teamwork vs. Isolated Independence- Choosing to do what is truly best for everybody involved—whether it is at home, church or work—instead of focusing on my own goals, agenda, or myself (Hebrews 10:24-25, 1 Peter 4:10, 1 Corinthians 12)

68. Thoroughness vs. Incompleteness– Knowing what factors will diminish the effectiveness of my work or words if neglected (Proverbs 18:15)

69. Thriftiness vs. Extravagance– Not allowing myself or others to spend that which is not necessary (Luke 16:11)

70. Tolerance vs. Prejudice Acceptance of others as unique expressions of specific character qualities in varying degrees of maturity (Philippians 2:2)

71. Truthfulness vs. Deception– Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts (Ephesians 4:25)

72. Understanding vs. Lack of Knowledge- Choosing to “seek to understand” people and situations through God’s perspective by searching God’s Word for answers so that I can effectively develop godly knowledge and an understanding heart towards others (2 Timothy 3:16, Proverbs 4:7)

73. Virtue vs. Impurity The moral excellence and purity of spirit that radiate from my life as I obey God’s Word (II Peter 1:3)

74. Vision vs. Apathy– The ability to visualize and realize a vision without becoming apathetic while ultimately helping to accomplish God’s plans and purpose (Philippians 3:14)

75. Wisdom vs. Foolishness/Natural Inclinations Seeing and responding to life’s situations from God’s frame of reference (Proverbs 9:10)

 

The greater the character, the greater the favor one will enjoy in life.

Make all your ways pleasing to God and He will make your paths straight. 

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.” (AMP)

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on building character, you may wish to check out these resources:

http://www.characterfirst.com/qualities

*Character Qualities: 49 are through IBLP, 26 are my own creation

http://ati.iblp.org/ati/family/curriculum/characterqualities.pdf

Conflict Resolution During Grief Pt. 2

Conflict is unavoidable in life. 

Conflict will always be a part of life as long as there are people…because people are fallible. People have issues…and people are broken.

We all have our own set of issues, as well as our own ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and desires. We also all have an idea of how WE think life should happen…and how WE think life should work. And then conflict begins…Grief can bring up a ton of conflict. Other times in life, God sometimes allows someone with VERY different issues, ideas, thoughts, beliefs, desires, and ideals to cross our path…or they may live with us!

We can view a person we are having conflict with as:

  • sandpaper that gets underneath our skin…or…
  • a divine vessel from God to sand away the negative character qualities and imperfections we have in our own life

Depending on how we view our offender or a situation of conflict, we will either deepen our negative character traits…or…become a better person throughout a trial.

In my last post, I stated, “Ultimately, conflict surfaces because it is one of the enemy’s strongest ways of keeping us from achieving what God wants for us, and what God truly wants for those around us. Conflict continually keeps hurts and problems stirred up…sucking up our extra energy…which prevents us from FULLY achieving God’s Will and His best for our lives. Ultimately, conflict keeps us from TRULY loving God and GENUINELY loving others.” …Think about this for a minute…

So where does conflict originate?

EVERY CONFLICT STEMS FROM ONE ORIGINAL SOURCE: One, or both parties, involved in a conflict has a major character deficit. Character deficits…and the granddaddy of all character deficits–selfishness (pride)–are what conflicts are rooted in.

James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Aren’t they caused by the selfish desires that fight to control you?” Our character, and the selfish desires of our heart, try to control us. That is why it is so important to control and develop our own personal character throughout life.

Whatever negative character qualities we do not gain control over, will end up controlling us.

Let me explain: Character is the sum of qualities that a person either possesses or doesn’t possess that dictates every single thought, word, action or deed.

Some people are fortunate to have been trained to have character qualities while growing up; others have not had an opportunity to have developed their character yet.

One thing is for certain though: EVERYBODY can choose to develop their character from this day forward…and by doing so, resolve many conflicts in life, as well as many life difficulties. 

When people go through grief, they may say things that they really do not mean. They may even do things that are not typical of them, too. It takes time for a broken heart to heal and it can take a lot of work to balance out after life has thrown a huge curveball. As a result of grief and loss, normally good character can suffer greatly.

We must continually develop and strengthen our character throughout our lives…because “life” and grief has the ability to change or weaken our character. Since our character can be weakened by life events…or wrong motives or wrong influences we allow into our life…it is imperative to keep a strong “self-check” in place over our character and our hearts.   Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

Conflict is not always a “They’re wrong and I am right” situation. Conflict can certainly be that, but more often than not, it is simply a lack of character…and the 2 parties involved can not resolve an issue until the character quality is improved and resolved. Without the character quality being defined, improved, and resolved, the offending person no more understands how to resolve the issue than they understand how to develop the character quality itself, making lasting conflict resolution very unlikely.

The more we become Christ-like, the more character our lives will have…and the more we go to God to ask Him to develop His character and the fruits of His Spirit into our lives, the more opportunities we will have to develop them. (By the way, there are solid opportunities to put character, and the fruits of God’s Spirit, into practice during times of conflict…usually, conflict will reveal what is TRULY in a person’s heart…and the amount of genuine character they have. It’s not a fun revelation, but it is genuinely revealing to say the least).

Here is a list of popular character qualities. It is not an exhaustive list, but a most common list. As both parties read the qualities, each truly has the opportunity to take the time to see which qualities they have personally violated towards the person they are in conflict with. Remember, it is not about being “right”…it is about both parties owning their part and RESOLVING the conflict.

Two people can absolutely tear each other apart with arguments and divisions…without seeing any positive resolution at all. So, doesn’t it make sense to battle and change the negative character instead of battling the same topics over and over again?

Galatians 5:15 shares, “If you go on hurting each other and tearing each other apart [biting and devouring one another], be careful, or you will completely destroy [or consume] each other.”

Take a moment and look at the following list of character qualities, along with the negative character trait associated with the needed positive character quality for conflict resolution. A lot of times, if someone cannot pin point a character quality that is needed to resolve an issue, they can most likely pin point the negative trait that is being displayed. Find the negative character quality that is being shown and then develop the opposite (positive) character quality to better the situation.

Majority of people do not merely react to another person; they react to a person’s character/lack of character…or guiding life principles/lack of principles…or values/lack of values.

Whether it is conflict during grief, or conflict within a marriage or family relationship, church/religion-based relationships, work relationships, or any other conflict or relationship…majority can be resolved when fixing the root…which is fixing the underlying character issues.

2 people then are not fighting each other…they are overcoming negative character qualities together.

Some may refuse to work on issues, their character, or relationships (due to being stubborn, or maybe being deeply hurt by a situation or another person), so they choose to cut off or remove their self from the situation. Regardless of what one chooses…and that is truly between them and God…their negative character traits will follow them into a new relationship or situation. And the lessons usually get harder and much more difficult. God rarely allows us to be offensive, or refuse to obey His ways for conflict resolution, and then walk off and be blessed. He usually sends a much more cruel messenger or situation to motivate us to change our character and our ways. It’s just the way it works!

So, why choose to work on it…especially when you truly do not want to?…It makes much more sense to develop our own character…whether another person does or not…and whether a situation changes or not…because we have to look at ourselves in the mirror each and every day the rest of our lives regardless of the outcome of our conflict. We ultimately do our part to please God.

Consider these most common character traits that can be lacking. The anecdote is for each person to do a self check to truly see which negative character trait they are exhibiting, so that they can clearly figure out how to develop the positive character trait for lasting results in conflict resolution:

(Before reading this list, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you which character qualities you need to develop and work on. Don’t be discouraged, everybody has MANY qualities they need to develop!)

Acceptance vs. Rejection

Adaptability vs. Stubbornness

Alertness vs. Unawareness

Attentiveness vs. Unconcern

Authenticity vs. Fakeness/Hypocrisy

Availability vs. Self-centeredness

Being Under Authority vs. Selfish Rebellion

Benefit of the Doubt vs. Harsh Judgment

Boldness vs. Fearfulness

Cautiousness vs. Rashness

Civility vs. Incivility

Communication vs. Lacking Communication

Compassion vs. Indifference

Community/Family vs. Isolation

Contentment vs. Covetousness

Cooperation vs. Rebellion

Courage vs. Cowardice

Courtesy vs. Rudeness

Creativity vs. Underachievement/Dullness

Decisiveness vs. Double-mindedness

Dedication vs. Wavering

Deference vs. Rudeness

Dependability vs. Inconsistency

Determination vs. Faintheartedness

Diligence vs. Slothfulness 

Discernment vs. Judgment

Discretion vs. Simplemindedness

Empathy vs. Hard-heartedness

Endurance vs. Giving up

Excellence vs. Apathy

Faith vs. Presumption

Faithfulness vs. Unfaithfulness

Flexibility vs. Resistance

Forgiveness vs. Bitterness

Generosity/Hospitality vs. Stinginess

Gentleness vs. Harshness

Gratefulness vs. Unthankfulness

Hardworking vs. Entitlement

Harmony vs. Jealousy

Honesty vs. Lying

Honor vs. Dishonor

Humility vs. Pride

Humor/Fun vs. Coldness/Refusal to connect

Initiative vs. Unresponsiveness

Integrity vs. Lack of Morals

Joyfulness vs. Self-pity

Justice vs. Fairness

Kindness vs. Harshness

Leadership vs. Wavering

Love vs. Hate/Pride/Selfishness

Loyalty vs. Betrayal

Meekness vs. Anger

Mercy vs. Judgment/Judging

Obedience vs. Willfulness

Orderliness vs. Disorganization

Patience vs. Impatience/Restlessness

Peace vs. Contention/Disharmony

Positivity vs. Negativity

Punctuality vs. Tardiness

Purpose vs. Cluelessness/Flightiness

Purity/Virtue vs. Impurity

Purity of Motives vs. Manipulation

Resilience vs. Quitting

Resourcefulness/Conservation vs. Wastefulness

Responsibility vs. Unreliability

Respect/Reverence vs. Disrespect

Safety vs. Carelessness

Security vs. Anxiety

Self-Control vs. Self-indulgence

Self-Discipline vs. Undisciplined

Selflessness vs. Selfishness

Sensitivity vs. Callousness

Servant’s Heart vs. Haughtiness

Sincerity vs. Insincerity

Teamwork/Unity vs. Competitiveness/”Me” Attitude

Thankfulness vs. Complaining

Thoroughness vs. Incompleteness

Thriftiness vs. Extravagance

Tolerance vs. Prejudice

Trust vs. Mistrust

Truthfulness vs. Deception

Unity vs. Division

Vision vs. Apathy

Wisdom vs. Foolishness/Natural Inclinations

Take a few days to truly think about these character traits, the positive and the negative, and then pray about how you are going to further strengthen the good traits you have, as well as how best to develop and work  on the negative traits you have too. We ALL have both positive and negative traits and one of the greatest things about life is that we have the grand opportunity to continually better ourselves. When we love God and love others….and we choose to actively better the lives of others, and better ourselves, good things have a way of entering into our lives.

Everybody at some point has failed in a situation or a relationship…but keep in mind: “Failure is an event, never a person”…as long as you have breath in you today, you can improve your life and your character! And improving your character will always lead to a better life, better relationships, and the ability to resolve conflict!

Next post, I will be writing about how to develop each of the character qualities above. Stay tuned! 🙂

http://www.griefbites.com