Sunday, August 21, 2011

Take your own advice.

Ever find yourself in a unique situation when you end up taking your own advice and have a really hard time with it?  That's how things have been for me lately.  I've embarked on an incredible journey -- one that will take me years and years of growth, one that will wage the strength of my friendships, work relationships and professionalism. 

You see, recently, I made a huge commitment to God.  I fully committed to loving the Lord and praising Him for His many blessings, even in times when I feel as though I have been looked over.  It's a commitment to say, "Lord, I love You.  Thank You for all that You have done in my life and all that You continue to do.  All I want to do is love You and make You smile -- through my life, through my love, through my family, through my career.  I will praise You no matter what." 

It's so easy to sing your praises in the sanctuary, so easy to stand at the top of the mountain and say, "I LOVE YOU GOD!" but it's quite another thing to be an example of Christ's love in the valleys, on the hard days.  The days when you feel everyone else has been given favor but you.  The days when you wonder if you'll ever find a job you could like yourself for.  The days when you feel like your kids are good for anyone else but you.  We have all stood at the top of the mountain, we have all fallen to our knees in the deepest, muddiest, slickest valleys. 

I have made the conscious decision to stop bad mouthing others.  Not like I did it all that much anyway, but when I did, it wasn't good.  (I laugh at myself because though this idea had hung in the rafters of my mind for awhile now, I heard something very similar to it at church today, which caused a resurgence of interest.)  From now on, when I talk about someone else, I am going to evaluate what I am saying by using this age old triple-filter adage:  Is what I am saying about this person necessary? Is it kind?  Is it true?  You may gasp at this idea, because you want to believe that the person writing this blog isn't the kind of girl who succumbs to negativity.  But I am.  I can all so easily find myself wrapped up in another person's negativity and find it affecting me adversely as well.  Instead of lifting someone else up out of their own pit, before I know what's happened, I've allowed them to hand me a shovel so I can make my own as well.  Has that ever happened to you?

Here's a thought:  would you take financial advice from a person who had squandered their whole life savings away on a pile of pocket lint?  (Maybe so you could do the opposite of what they did, you say.  I feel you.)  So yes, back to this whole idea of giving advice that you really aren't taking yourself.  I have found myself in an interesting position lately:  in recent months, I felt as though I really wanted to get my husband involved in going to church with me.  Adam doesn't do the "church thing" -- but he eventually decided he wanted to go (without my prodding, even!) and began going to church services with me.   

A few weeks back, I was going through some terrible things at work.  I was sitting in my office one day with the light off (conserving energy) and the door shut (for peace and quiet) when I overheard a group of coworkers talking about me right outside my door.  They didn't know I was in my office, so I pretty much heard all kinds of negative things I didn't really need to hear.  Long story short, I was sick over it.  I opened the door, they all saw me and saw that I was inside, but I never said anything to any of them and figured that just them knowing I was there and heard them was punishment enough.  I figured I would be able to move on because I really didn't care what those people thought of me, they didn't sign my paycheck and I wasn't married to them.

In the weeks to come after that incident, forgiveness was hard for me to even consider.  I have never really been a person to let things go.  It's my biggest flaw, my heaviest burden.  I can never just forgive and forget, and when I am able to forgive, it takes me YEARS of growth to get to that point, if I can at all.  I found myself sick to my stomach (I thought I had ulcers), fighting with my husband, getting annoyed with my children, etc.  I eventually got to the point that I was ready to find another job.  I didn't want to work there anymore and deal with the drama and negativity.  Little did I realize, I was a carrier for this disease, negativity, and it was a sickness I could NOT put down despite my feeble attempts.  My hurt and anger had such a hold on me that it changed the person that I am.  I found myseld bad mouthing (yes, me!) the people who had hurt me, criticizing every little thing about them and just overall being a negative Nancy.

One day, after church, Adam and I were driving home and I was on my usual rant about how I was dreading work on Monday and how I can't stand that they have me working across the hallway from the very person I most despise, etc.  I was on a roll.  And all of the sudden, Adam looked at me and said, "Honey, you have to let this go.  They talk about forgiveness in church.  It's important.  This is affecting you.  It's affecting me.  It's affecting our family.  Just forgive." 

WOW.  Here I was, telling Adam that going to church would be a good thing for him, and then hearing him tell me what it was really about -- well, let me tell you, humble pie has never been my favorite meal, but I was eating it by the spoonful.  I was so taken aback by evaluating my situation that I burst into tears and it finally occurred to me:  I needed to forgive these people so that I could move on with my life.  Forgive them and then give the rest to God.  So I did.  I prayed about it, I cried about it, and last week, when I went to work on Monday, I felt so much better.  Words can't describe.  This was a distraction that was keeping me from where I needed to be.  It felt so good just to lay it down and move past it.  Sometimes letting something go feels better than struggling to fix it, or make someone else feel as rotten as you did.  I was so glad that I had given it up to God.

On that note, I am reminded of one of my favorite old gospel songs and I'll leave you with it --  "If I hold my peace, let the Lord fight my battle, I know that the victory shall be mine."

1 remarks:

Catherine said...

I'm glad to see that you've blogged. i am also happy to hear that you have reached the summit of this mountain and are finally on the way back to your rightful path.