Becoming a Duck, a Matador, or a Turtle

As Christian women and men start planning for the purpose of their Daniel Fast, a common focus is relationships. Sadly, many people struggle with painful encounters with family, friends and coworkers. Recently, I’ve heard from many folks seeking advice and wisdom when their relationships are soured. 

Jesus told us in John 16:33, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Yes, we experience trials and sorrows in this life! And sometimes, those sorrows are from people very close to us. Heartache and sorrow can come from the unkind words of a spouse or a child. From the disrespect of a friend or a co-worker. From people we hold dear or people we are in contact frequently. 

There are times when we find ourselves saying, “Wait! What did I do to deserve this kind of treatment?” And the sorrow we feel can even cause physical pain from stress and “aching of the heart.”

So what do you do when you feel emotionally battered or treated poorly by those who “should” love and respect you?

First, Jesus’s words tell us the best response . . . “have peace in Me.” When you are hurting, come to your Comforter. Find peace with Him. Rest in the assurance that He loves and cares for you.

Second, pray for those who hurt you! Set aside any resentment or bitterness and instead pray for them. Ask God’s Holy Spirit to work in their hearts so they draw nearer to Him and walk in His ways. While doing this, don’t put your faith and trust in the individual. Instead, put your faith in God. Believe that He will do what He says He will do. That He hears your prayer. And that you can pray while at the same time be comforted by Him. 

Third, pretend you’re a duck, a matador, or a turtle! “What?” you might be saying. This sounds a little crazy!

Let me explain. 

I’ve had my own times when I’ve had to stand in faith while people in my life have been “acting out” in not so good ways. Hurtful. Painful. Longsuffering! And it can be very hard to endure for the long haul. So I have developed a few simple ways that have helped me endure – all while trusting in God and praying. 

Become a Duck: Imagine a duck out on a raining day. What happens? Drops of rain, big and small, fall on the duck. Yet they all just roll off his or her back. The duck doesn’t absorb the water. Rather, the drops just fall to the ground and do no harm. 

During some of my darkest hours, I would pretend I was a duck. I imagined the hurtful words or unkind gestures just rolling off my back and falling to the ground. Sometimes I would have to “shake them off.” And sometimes it required a lot of shaking. But this little imagination helped me to not receive the corrupted seed into my soul. 

Become a Matador: Again, tap into your imagination. Think of a matador standing in a bullring with a huge, mean, and powerful bull charging toward him. What does the matador do? He extends his cape, which the bull charges and then passes through. No harm and no impact comes to the matador. The bull just runs on by.

Again, similar to pretending you’re a duck, you can imagine yourself as a matador. The insults can come charging toward you. The “bull” intends to hit you and hit you hard. But you can just let them pass on by! You don’t have to receive the hit. Just stand in your own integrity and faith and let the hit go its merry way! 

Become a Turtle: The purpose of pretending you’re a turtle is a little different than the duck and the matador. And I used this technique recently. Let me explain. 

There are times when you are standing in faith or believing for something. You are purposefully and intentionally exercising your authority as a believer and relying on God and His promises. Then someone you know starts sharing their “worldly wisdom” with you. Chip, chip, chip. Perhaps not even knowing it, their words are chipping away at the faith you are using. Their words can turn into doubt in your mind. And where before you were strong in your stand with the Lord on the matter . . . now you have to recover. 

When I’m in this situation, I take on the role of a turtle. I pull all my soft and vulnerable parts into a shell and become sheltered from the thoughts and opinions of others. I don’t talk about matters with people who don’t understand the ways of our faith. I become quiet and still. 

Now the great thing about the turtle’s shell into which I retreat is that Jesus is right there with me! I can still talk to Him. I can continue to be in His peace. And He and I can huddle under the shell and wait in faith for the answer and the result. 

One more thing – when people are being rude, unkind, unloving, or disrespectful a natural (note that word) response is to mirror back the same emotions. But as followers of Jesus Christ, we’re called to behave as He behaves. In love. In patience. In faith. Hold your tongue. Don’t retaliate. And leave the battle to Him! Remember His promise to remain in His peace. 

Keep this truth in mind: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

22 Comments

  • Phyllis Lawson says:

    Okay I have completed the Daniel Fast. I am so blessed Miss Susan if you have a really encouraged me and helped me get closer to God. I just think of for you and you are forever in my prayers. Low self-esteem was something that I addressed over 10 15 years ago. But doing this as I found out it was trying to reappear. As I completed day 21 lessons along the way I did not write everything but there were a couple that stood out. I must share with you and let you know this is the first time that I did the Daniel Fast with you. I was unable to purchase the book and most of the food but I believe God heard my heart. The answer to question number 4 is I’m going to type it the way I received it

    The Bible speaks of if I had a thousand times I could not praise him enough.
    This Series has blessed me so I have seen God work I have heard God clear and most important God has given me wisdom. Like the statement I just said until now I believed it was scripture the thousand tongues, wisdom from God has showed me that it is a good Christian saying but it is not scripture it is a beautiful song. I do not want to speak good feeling words I want to speak scripture because the word of God is the only way change is going to happen. Good feeling words will not change anything. Thank you so much this says session was free and I was able to participate I am praying and asking God to open doors for me to start the eight-week session Discovery faith and transformation. Again I think God for you Miss Susan continue to be blessed I love you!!!

  • Nkah says:

    Hi Susan , just want to thank you so much for all the lessons you’ve provided me with during this Daniel fasting . Especially this message tod . This fasting has totally changed my life and brought me closer to God . I thank God for using you to touch others lives like mine . May God continue to guide and bless you abundantly. Thank you

  • Virginia Hendricks says:

    I greet you all in the name of our Lord Jesus. Thank you Susan Gregory for the amazing message by online video and short questionnaires. It’s really an eye opening revelation truth journey and I would have liked my other brothers and sisters to also follow through on this journey in faith. Is there anyway I can purchase the whole 21 day series in Oder for others to join in the fast later in the year?

  • Nancy Loftus says:

    I have organized (or tried my best) to get as many as possible to do a Group Fast, which we are doing right now…about 35. I will be leading our church for a Lenten study, doing the Daniel Fast again, and planning on doing the last 21 day of lent, March 26 – April 15th. We will be using the Daniel Fast Workbook, I’ve never used it before. I am assuming each person needs a Daniel Fast Workbook? Also I was a little confused on when our first meeting should be. Will be meeting on Wednesdays, so the book said we should do the lesson 1 week in advance. If we start the 1st study March 22, should the books be given out on March 15th, to give them 1 week to do the study? Just want to make sure I understand it right? Thanks for all your prayers and support!

  • Shirley Henry says:

    Thanks for that message it was Well stated. As human we tend to want to retaliate but I recently started to try to hold my tongue and think on what Jesus would want me to do. It’s all about change on my part and not dwell on what the other person have done or did.

  • Ivonne says:

    Thank you Jesus for leading me to this site, is all by His grace and mercy. Although I was looking for information about the Daniel fast I learn more from your site especially the Spirit of Forgiveness. What we need to know as Christians is that the person mostly hurt by unforgiveness is you. So we need to forgive others their trespasses so that God may forgive us our trespasses no matter how painful it is as Jesus did! Surely our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:12. If we do not forgive others then we give glory to the enemy and not to our Heavenly Father and that explains that a reaction to a mistake if expressed wrongly can also be a mistake. I pray the Spirit of forgiveness will help us to overlook the mistakes of others and love them as God command us to love your neighbors in Jesus Name. Amen

  • Maria Jose says:

    God is faithful in all, we need to trust him more. I know it’s hard more is not impossible.
    MARYA JOSE

  • Lindiwe Nyathikazi says:

    Thank you Susan. I like the part where you say, when retreating into the shell, Jesus is there with me and we cuddle. I imagine Him whispering ” All is well my child. ” thank you. This is my 8th day the first time of Daniel fasting and I know my life will never be the same after the 21 days is over. I have all the Faith it will be so.

  • Cel says:

    Susan today I have been blessed. For years I have been all 3. However I have decided that the family member apparently gets worse. So with the help of God I have to take this person outside of my safety zone and make the law speaks.

  • Chris says:

    I understand all what you are saying but my problem is that I had all the accusing words and then silence. For 9 mths my daughter and my 5 grandchildren have not spoken to any immediate members of our family. This has being going on for 12 years and every time she has rung up to renew our relationship but not this time so far. In other times I have asked her what it is that causes this and she just says she needs space. I know God is good all the time and I cling to that. Her silence is very loud!

    • Susan Gregory says:

      My prayer is that God’s Holy Spirit will encourage your daughter’s heart and that love, forgiveness and understanding would take the place of hurt, resentment and any bitterness that may be there.

      I encourage you to pray for your daughter and your grandchildren. Love them, with no strings attached, from a distance and give the whole burden to the Lord. Jesus came to heal the broken hearted. Have faith in Him.

      Be blessed on your fast.

    • Maria Jose says:

      wait on God confident

  • Mary says:

    I have been blessed for a couple of years now by your book and I have passed it on to friends in dire need with great results. I too am suffering right now with a difficult family situation but with God holding me up I cannot lose. This year’s fast is crucial for me. Be totally covered in His love Susan you are a great soldier in the fight.

    • Susan Gregory says:

      Dearest Mary,

      Yes, we have challenges in our lives. And praise God we have a loving and caring Father who holds us and supports us.

      Cast your cares of Him for He cares for you. For me, there have been times when I remind myself of that benefit many times a day as I walk in the dark valley. And even though I am a grown woman . . . I still sometimes imagine myself climbing up onto the lap of my Father so He can hold me and comfort me. He’s there for you in the same way.

      Be blessed and Happy 2016!

  • Amber says:

    It’s always amazing how God works! My sister was encouraging me to try the Daniel Fast with her this year (she does 1-2 per year) and I decided to visit the website and ran across this blog. This particular blog message was exactly the reminder I needed and gave me guidance. If I’m being honest, the thought of praying for the one who hurt me is daunting and my flesh responded “no way”! But I want to be obedient and I want to stop carrying bitterness and anger so I wlll try it. Thank you Susan for posting this!

    • Susan Gregory says:

      Be blessed, Amber.

      I totally understand your challenges. I’ve been there, also. With God’s grace and allowing Him to work on my heart I have been able to forgive.

      You might want to check out this study I put together for people just like you and me == folks who have been told to forgive, but need some guidance on how to do it so it’s complete and real:

      Giving Forgiveness – The gift you give to yourself and others

      Be blessed on your fast!

  • Jodi says:

    Susan,This was just what I needed to hear today.Thank you.Jodi

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