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Questions & Answers: Grace-Based Relationship Advice

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Hi Sandra,

My name is Debbie and I live in Australia.

I have been reading your book and I absolutely love it!

I have some questions that I would like to ask you about and hoping that you may be able to answer.

My Answer:

Hi Debbie! So happy you are loving my book. I praise Jesus for using it to encourage you!

I’m so glad you felt free to email me and ask your questions because there are no bad questions when it comes to your grace journey. In fact, one of the things that has helped me learn and grow on my own journey the most is thinking through and answering other people’s questions just like yours!

Here are your questions with my answers under each one:

1.) “ I know in your book you give examples of times when you had placed yourself under pressure for various reasons and this may sound really simple, but how do you deal with situations when other people may not be happy with the pace that you are working at to accomplish a task?”

I totally understand your question and hope this helps:

Being assured of who we are in Christ helps us tremendously in situations like this. Here’s why: when we have our identity solely tied to who we are in Jesus, meaning what Jesus thinks about us and the value He puts on us, it begins to matter less and less what others think about us. He shows us our worth and value through His unconditional love for us, His free gift of righteousness given to us and His complete forgiveness of our sin – all aspects of God’s grace!

I believe knowing who we are in Christ is something we become more and more secure in the more we read/hear the gospel – the good news about God’s grace. I literally feel like I am hidden in God’s love for me and this sense of security I feel strengthens over time as I continue to meditate on how much God loves me on a daily basis. 

I have a section in my book where I talk about the importance and life transforming power of Beholding Jesus according to 2 Corinthians 3:18. You may have already made it to this place in the book, but if not I believe it will help you gain more understanding on how to receive from Jesus by beholding Him.

At this time there are very few relationships left where I still struggle with worrying about what others are thinking of me or if they are not happy with me because I am so rooted and grounded in understanding God’s deep love and satisfaction toward me.

BUT

There are definitely some relationships where I still struggle with feeling insecure around various people or catch myself wondering what they are thinking of me and relationships where I sometimes let it bother me if they “don’t think I’m working fast enough” (from your question above) or even other things similar to this.

Here’s how I’m dealing with it: Whenever I sense myself getting into anxiety mode around a person or frustration mode because of something they’ve said or a way in which they’ve reacted toward me, I sometimes start to head in the wrong direction with my emotions or even begin to go into people pleasing mode.  BUT I have learned to stop and say to myself. “Sandra, remember what Jesus says about you, how He loves you and values you (no matter what you do or fail to do) and remember that what Jesus says and feels about you overrides what this other person is saying, thinking or feeling about you.”

This is why it’s so important to receive God’s love toward us and remember how He feels about us everyday. If we don’t we won’t have that place of security to pull from when we get into a pressured situation like you mentioned in your question. In my book, I compare this to the importance of having strong core muscles and how we so heavily rely on our core for just about every physical activity.

Understanding God’s love for us is like having strong core muscles. We can completely rely on and run back to God’s love for us when someone says or does something that makes us feel shaky or like we may fall over (emotionally), just like we can rely on our core muscles to keep us from falling over in a strong wind. The revelation of His love brings us stability in difficult, painful situations.

This is why it’s wrong when people say teaching people about the love of God is just the abc’s or the baby/beginning stage of Christianity. No Way! Teaching people how loved they are by God is A-Z. It’s critical and we can never hear it enough!

Think about how much better all relationships would be if people were secure in the Father’s love for them. A continual revelation of His love continues to drive fear out of our lives and fear/insecurity is what causes so many problems in relationships. Therefore, the massive amount of problems in people’s relationships worldwide is proof that the need for a deeper understanding of God’s love is great. I love this passage from Ephesians 3:17-19!

2.) “Also, another question, someone once mentioned to me that if you are in pain it is better to not mention it to others, to stop others from thinking any less of you and thinking or saying anything negatively about you. What are your thoughts about this?”

I feel it is definitely not good to keep your pain bottled up inside, but I do not recommend sharing your pain with people you cannot trust – meaning people you know who will judge you.

Anyone we share our struggles with should be people we know who will encourage us by reminding us of who we are in Christ and pointing us to Jesus and what He thinks about us.

I have surrounded myself with people who I feel free to be myself with and those are the only people I open up to in specific areas. I avoid telling people things who have a difficult time keeping my business confidential and also avoid sharing my difficulties with self-righteous people because I know they will respond like a Pharisee, in a judgemental way.

You can tell who the Pharisees are by listening to their conversations. They come across as though they think they’re better than others. And in saying this I’m not saying we don’t all act like a Pharisee from time to time because we can all fall into this trap.

The difference is that full-time Pharisees are blinded to the truth about grace so they are not even sorry for being judgmental and critical of others because they don’t even see that it’s wrong. They think they are just helping people be as wonderful as they themselves are (in their own mind). Oh my goodness, I was a class A Pharisee before I came into a revelation of God’s grace. Can you tell? I recognize the signs!

So yes, you really should share your pain with others, but only with grace-filled (gracious) people who you feel comfortable with and people who you know will love you back into a place of wholeness instead of condemning you.

Of course, this doesn’t mean there won’t ever be anything to work through in relationships, even when you are connected with the right people, because there will be. Nobody is perfect. We are all on a journey. I believe open, honest, respectful communication on both sides makes for the best relationships!

I hope this helps you. I had so much fun typing out my answer. As I mentioned, these questions always help me because they force me to think through my answers so thank you for sending me this email!

Debbie, I’ll be praying that you get a full-on, life transforming revelation of God’s grace as you continue to read my book!

Debbie’s Takeaway:

Hi Sandra,

“Thank you so much for your reply to my questions. It helped to give me a better understanding about why it’s so important to know who we are in Christ. Although I have often heard about the concept of ‘knowing who we are in Christ’, you have helped me to realize that this understanding helps us in so many different ways – from helping us keep our emotions from getting out of control, to helping us keep calm, to providing us with a true sense of security, to helping us let go of what others say because what God says about us carries more weight.

For many years I have struggled with being so concerned about what people think of me and I’m still struggling with this. But this year I’m making it my goal to get to know who I am in Christ.”

I can’t think of a better goal!

* Thanks to Debbie for giving me permission to share this on my blog!

Feel free to email me a question anytime by clicking on the envelope at the top of this website or in the drop down menu from your mobile device and I will do my best to reply to you with a grace-based answer!

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom

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