Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. -Philippians 2:3
I once overheard someone speaking to another about what they would do to me in my life, in a specific situation. It was shocking. Surprising. And so very painful for the reason being from whom it was coming from. What did I do? I backed up, turned around and left. All I could think is God is in control. He will deal with it. I will leave it to him. Why? Because I was a saint? Oh no! Only because just beforehand in a bible lesson we were going over just that. Leaving it to God. Was in in my own strength? Not at all. I was convinced God would do just that. And when I saw that person, it’s like I never heard those words. Why do we do that?
Someone takes a stab at me. It might be a slight remark, a backhanded compliment or even making fun of a feature of my own kid that I happen to hear across the room… I know it’s not really about me. It’s really a deeper issue. If they are not a believer, well that is simple. I understand they do not know Christ. But if it is a believer? I know there’s the Holy Spirit. I trust that though they might not say it to me, they might feel remorse. Maybe the instant after they blabber out that hurtful remark. Maybe later they might realize. Maybe they feel so stupid about it. And what do I do? I treat them like a sister in Christ. It’s not always easy, but it’s God’s work not mine! I on the other hand would have let the I in me get the best of me….it’s a constant battle to be more like Christ and not be “right.”
I used to work in a “public” sort of work. What I mean is, anyone could make an appointment and sit in my chair. Be my client. Oh I loved my work. I still do. We were told there would be secret clients. Those that basically test you. If you’re doing all that is entailed in your work expectations. You talk about this, you don’t talk about this. You recommend product. You basically sell. Well, they were always too obvious, those secret client ‘testers.’ Perhaps it’s me. Perhaps it’s that they just didn’t play their role well. And what do we become when we know that we are tested? Robotic. Not real. Not like the client-hairdresser relationship you could have or build. I wouldn’t consider those clients “real.” Yes, they made an appointment, they sat in the chair, we consulted. Yes, I shampooed and cut their hair. All the things a client gets in their service at the salon. But it’s just one big act. All of a sudden you’re just letting out the rehearsed words, going through the motions, and there’s a lack of true craft. It takes away from your being a hairdresser as you would naturally be. It becomes forced and it puts you into a position of acting vs being real. And so, was it really a test?
That was not a big deal. It was part of the job. But imagine some “people” who wanting to test me, sent me some “prophetess.” Oh what a comedy! She tells me “do whatever you like to my hair.” I tell her, “cut if off to about a one inch?” And watch that poor women’s eyes grow big. Did she mean “anything I want?” Of course I told her just kidding, and gave her a decent (realistic) hair cut, still cutting off a significant foot of hair! Here’s the thing, I don’t come from a charismatic background, nor a pentecostal one, and in no way steer to the “spiritual.” (In no way is this a put down of any denomination.) In fact, I could say my background is just “boring.” So for me to believe her “prophesy” and to think of it as so meaningful would have been so gullible, so naive. To think anyone would think I’d fall for that. I got a good tip from that visit. You’d say, how do you know she was sent to you? Because who she mentioned in her so said joke of a prophesy. Gah.
Then there was a client who probably would have gotten away with it altogether. She didn’t come for a one time visit. Prolonged visits. She was sweet and I actually enjoyed her conversations. But, ‘say a specific word, say it a specific way, and aaaaaallll the red flags are up. Weather I want that or not! So I ‘mention’ her to the people I’m guessing she’s sent by. Then I ask her in our conversation if she knows so and so. Of course it’s denied. And we keep on going about our little chats. I’m being tested if I’m worthy enough. Is it really a test if I know I’m being tested? How do you know, you wonder? People speak the truth. Eventually. “I tested you…” And in the end when she came one last time, she sat there and spoke of those people and told me all sorts of stuff I didn’t even need to know. I hadn’t even asked her! To think aaaall this time! Did she forget what she was doing? Did she not remember lying to me in those first few visits when I purposefully asked? And Oh, how easy it would have been to just say “you liar.” Didn’t I ask you in the beginning? No. I disregard. I let it go. I don’t even mention it to anyone.
I got fed up once and finally vented to management about what was bothering me. And I got the answer, “Yes, there is someone.” Someone who reports. Ugh. People always speak the truth.
One last one. This one is altogether creepy! I used to go to this lake, so frequently, and I’d always go to my usual favorite spot. It was known by some. And what do I get but a creepy one sent my way. Oh creepy to have someone to go to such lengths. Thankfully, creepy as in what on earth, but not murderous get out of there creepy. All I could think was well, be nice, and get out of here. To have the words I speak be spoken back to me but from a complete stranger. Really, do I have to give you a hug? I’m at a beach! Coincidence? Absolutely not. You could say, aren’t you assuming? Aren’t you playing God? Aren’t you reading into it. (I understand all those things. Thus these specific real stories from my life, where the answer was clear.) There are things in life where I ask, Oh Lord, show me again. And again. I give the benefit of the doubt. I believe in dealing with anyone and with anything in a careful and cautious manner. So, again, how do I know? Well when it gets this creepy, you just know. I hope I don’t have to really explain. I don’t know exactly what was behind it all. I don’t know the reasons for such ways. In fact I also believe it’s not because I’m so special or interesting in any way. It is because the ones that did and do that, did that prior and after me. With others.
So. Do these kind of “examples” build up. Do I start to suspect and wonder if every one of my clients is there to find something out?! Do I have to wonder if every coworker I speak to is the one? Little by little seeds of distrust start to form. But no one wants to walk around being paranoid! How weird would that be! It hinders the “real.’ It makes you work harder to tell yourself literally, “but not all those who come your way are there to test you. Not all are making sure you’re saying the right things. Or the wrong.” And I guess, situations like these make for a colorful life. Lessons I’ve learned from. They are stories from another time, almost another world I would say. Safe to say, from the past.
And what do I do? Be nice. Does that ever get tiring? How many times do we humble ourselves and count others more significant. I believe, countless numerous times. Endless. Not to start a fight. Not to point out fault. But sometimes, if it starts to build up or becomes a real hinderance, we confront.
I omit a lot from my blog posts. Connections, explanations… Which in result, I believe can cause absolute distorted confusion. (Imagine if I wrote out all the details of my fun little stories up there?!) Because as you see they get looooong. But I shared an ending with my husband which I took out from an earlier post. I had previously took it out “to be nice.” So here it is- to be very straightforward, with no other meaning but this:
No friendship can blossom, nor grow, with those that facilitate and manipulate, are just there to test, to find out an answer, or are sent only to report to someone. I don’t need to know why, how, who. I just don’t want to go to the beach to meet a creeper. I don’t want to constantly watch that I don’t say the wrong things expected of me. I don’t want to play nice and pretend. Otherwise, it hinders from the real friendships that I do long for. And I’ll just continue to talk of “public” knowledge. Never the heart.
Elon Musk said it well. “Communication is hard.”
Especially when you want to regard and respect and count others more significant than yourself. Thanks Peter for that quote! (previous post.)
And to say it once again, another disclaimer after a horror of a realization- My silly little blog is not a form of communication. (Until this post and only this post.) It is just for my own musings and ramblings. It is a monologue.
Stories. But Real.