Have you ever been around someone who perpetually points out what others are doing wrong instead of what they are doing right? Not surprisingly, their company can be an exhausting beat down. You may leave their presence feeling bruised from their chopping nature, even if their blade was not directed towards you.

Being around a captious individual for an extended period has the capability to disturb your overall health: It is as if you are a fish stuck in a dirty fishbowl — everything from your breathing space to your view begins to feel constricted.

So, what to do if you are that fish?

Perhaps you know of a coworker, relative or friend who always seems to be filling your tank with dirty water. Before you headbutt the fishbowl, let’s jump into the Word together for a few suggestions:

1. Look to God, not the dirty water.

We are fully capable of doubting God and wallowing in misery the more we look to the dirty water. James 1:6 says, “He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” However, the more we draw our attention to God, the more he promises to reveal himself. James 4:1 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

2. Rather than curse the water, pray for the one who is filling your tank.

As Christians, what is the best use of your freewill? To love or to hate? We have an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love, not because of how we are treated by others, but because of how God has treated us with abundant grace, mercy and love. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.”

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment, patience and peace.

Remember, our job is to obey in Christ-like love. God already knows how every situation turns out — we don’t need to deplete our faith swimming in distress. Proverbs 3:21-22 says, “My son, preserve sound judgement and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.”

4. Pray for God’s will to be done.

God may choose not to change the other person; he may choose to change you. Knowing we live in a fallen world, rather than ask God why this is happening, ask God what he would have you learn from this experience to persevere in righteousness. Be honest with God. Submit fully to him so he can accomplish his plans, trusting in his love for you. Romans 5:3-4 says, “… We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

5. Give thanks to God for being “our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

Give God first praise! Remember the times God has restored you in the past, and trust he will victoriously guide you through once again.

May you dive into God’s Word to be refreshed today! Blessings to you.

SGLY, dear readers.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian writer and an opinion columnist. To submit feedback on SGLY or to offer a specific topic idea, please contact Chartier at news@amtrib. com. Follow Chartier on Facebook: facebook. com/ tiffanychartier and Twitter: @tiffanychartier