Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The real world

I have been processing something for a few days. Long story short... I asked someone a question and they did not understand my motives. Rather than ask me about it right then, they talked to someone else about it. That person brought it to my attention very vaguely, and sort of asked me not to do it again while not directly telling me what I'd done wrong. Rather than just walk away mad or hurt, I pursued the situation and I'm happy to say that the three of us were able to talk in person today and have resolved the matter. However, the entire time that this was snowballing out of proportion, I kept thinking that this just had to be a misunderstanding, but I was still crying because they'd hurt my feelings. I didn't do anything wrong, but I took their response personally.

I am well aware that I'm an emotional person - many would laugh in my precious face and say too emotional. I have always firmly disagreed with that assessment. I like my tenderness, honesty, sentimentality, compassion and vulnerability... But as I was dealing with this situation, I was seeing clearly how I was overly emotional. What was going on with these other two women had nothing really to do with what I'd done, but what they hadn't done (talked to me directly). Yet I was the one crying.

As I was reading Sheila Walsh's Get Off Your Knees And Pray, I felt God speaking directly to me. She writes (talking about gratitude journals), "...each night, jot down three things that you are grateful for. It can come from a passage of Scripture you read or a friend who called to brighten your day. It can be that when someone said something unkind, you didn't let it take root in your heart but sent it packing." I never do that... I always let it take root in my heart first, and send it packing later (usually MUCH later).

This situation was no fun, but it was a learning experience for everyone. For me, I have learned that I am too sensitive sometimes. This lesson has come at the perfect time, as Zach and I are embarking on our first journey in six years out of what I affectionately refer to as our "Christian cocoon". As a stay-at-home mom, most of my time is spent at home, church, at Zach's Christian school, or with our Christian friends. As Zach enters public school in the fall, I feel I need to toughen up a bit and not be so sensitive. Other children, parents, teachers and school administration will undoubtedly do something that upsets me, but I cannot let it become personal. Nor can I expect for all conflict to be resolved biblically. In my little cocoon, we can hold one another accountable to Matthew 18:15. This will not always be the case in the real world.

As I was thinking about that yesterday, I asked myself a question... What good is one more light that remains permanently among a huge group of lights? That seems similar to hiding it under a basket to me. As safe as my little cocoon is, I would prefer to be salt and light unto the world...

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:13-16

So, starting right now, I will be praying that God will help me to keep other's sins and mistakes from taking root in my heart, and that He would equip me to deal with it biblically, with rational emotions, and then send it packing. I don't want this issue to be what keeps my light hidden away out of fear.

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