She put me down, right there in front of “all them.” Sure, it was subtle, but it was real and … worst of all, it wasn’t the first time. In fact, every time I encourage others around that one particular subject, she circles right back and shoots it down. You can’t get one thing past her.
Hmph! Well, if she’s going to put me down like that? Well…I’ll show her. I don’t have to put up with this.
I thought about leaving the gathering. But I didn’t. I just sat there, internally fuming, while externally smiling.
Later, when I got home, I wondered why I even bother speaking up, encouraging others or taking the risk to be open and honest. Women always hurt me. Like that one time I shared the vulnerable details of my heart, only to get word it was being passed through the meat grinder of women’s chattering mouths. Or the other time when I shared my hurt and it was misinterpreted and stomped upon by those around me. Or worst yet, when I shared about God and felt all the crawling judgment of others walking up and down my body.
The more I think about all this, the more the problem bothers me. And worst yet, I fear: what if the real problem is – me? Perhaps it’s not their issue, but my fatal-flaw issue. One I was born with. What then?
I must not be good. I must be unlikable. I’ll always have this problem.
When I look deep within myself, I see faults:
I sometimes seek to impress others.
I hate feeling like people aren’t approving of me.
I never want to be seen as one doing wrong.
I have a hard time when people disagree.
I feel like less of a person when I’m not adding value.
I feel worthier when God is using me for important things.
Yet, when I look a level deeper I see something else. Yes, I am flawed, but not fatally – thanks to Jesus. I say things wrong, but I am always wanted. I make mistakes, but I am always loved. I do need to say, “I’m sorry,” but I am always forgiven.
I am not the sum of what I do, but the product of how I’m loved by Jesus.
The same goes for you. Love pours out of you, because Love came for you and conquered all. He taught. He led. He bled. He died. He was buried. He rose to heaven. For you.
With this, we no longer have to create perfect love that demands perfect responses from others. Instead, we can rest in Him who is perfect love. We can trust His love to compel us. We can breathe deep and gain perseverance and endurance from the endlessly beautiful gift he extends to us. The gift called, “sweet relief.”
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14, NIV).