I recently found myself learning a new life lesson about being true to myself and not falling into the pressure to act like others think we should. I had been given an appointment for which I had to ask someone to work in my place as it was during our store's business hours. When I got to the appointment the person who gave it to me apologized and said that we couldn't complete what we were there to do, because the person with authority to approve the next step had left. She hadn't known they would be leaving when she gave me the appointment. We accomplished the first step of the process which was filling out the application forms, and then went away waiting to know when we could return with the approval to go ahead with the next steps. I went away a little annoyed, but understanding. It would have been better if she had called me to reschedule and not have caused an extra inconvenience to myself and the person I had to ask help from to cover my position. But in all honesty, I understood how it may have been too late to contact me by the time she realized my appointment would be affected, and it easily could have been a mistake I would make myself, so I was really not upset.
Then when I got back and explained what happened and that we would have to go back, I heard the story from someone else's viewpoint, and they voiced how inconsiderate it was of that person not to have let me know and rescheduled my appointment. The message I received was that I should be angry and let them know how I feel! I relayed the story to another friend and she said the same thing.
So, realizing that they were right and it was quite inconsiderate of the person not to have called and rescheduled and it was more than myself who was inconvenienced, I became annoyed and began acting out in that annoyance. I told everyone I came across my story of how badly inconvenienced I had been and how ridiculous and inconsiderate that woman had been with me! Pffft! When I called to make another appointment I let the answering machine I was talking to know how horribly I'd been treated. Then I called the main office and let her know my story too in case she could help me get better treatment. And every time I opened my mouth, it felt wrong. It wasn't me. And I knew it wasn't right. Because, if I had made a mistake like this, I would love to receive grace and forgiveness. Of course she could have done better! But so could I have done better in my response and in acting out of my own nature and not that which was influenced by everyone else's interpretation of how it should be dealt with. Sometimes we get so distracted by other people's opinions and how we want to live up to their expectations of us that we take our focus off the one who keeps us centered and living true to ourselves and one another. If I had refocused my view back to God and asked him how I should handle this offence, I probably would have found peace in knowing that being merciful and understanding was my best response and my initial reaction was okay (for myself and for her).
Sunflowers on Camino on the way up the Alto de Perdon ~ photo credit: Thurland Brown - Walk with me Facebook page.
I recently saw this photo a pastor friend of mine had shared from the Camino de Santiago walk he and his wife are currently on. I couldn't help notice how the sunflowers didn't care that they were not facing in the best direction for the people passing by to enjoy their beauty. They didn't care that the road was behind them and they were doing it wrong! They kept their gaze firmly fixed on their source of life, and nourishment, and beauty. They kept their faces turned toward the sun. It also reminds me of the years when my children were little and I ran a home daycare. I would often speak to the children, and they would be distracted by each other, and anything else that may be going on around them, and I'd firmly say, "eyes on me" to make sure they were hearing my instructions. Sometimes as adults we need a reminder also. It is interesting how God can offer his instruction by the examples in his creation - the sunflower shows us how to do it right - stop paying attention to all the chatter, well intentioned opinions, and pull to do it the world's way. Instead, Lord help us keep our faces turned toward the Son. Help us to reflect your beauty in our actions toward one another. Help us to worry less about what others think we should be doing, and seek you and your instruction instead. In a world where your ways don't always make sense - we may not look like we are doing it right, but we can't fail when we fix our gaze on you. Thank you for the sunflower that reminds us to keep our "eyes on you".
" . . . in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus . . ." ~ Phil. 2:3-5
God bless, Elise & Trish
Helping you share the gift of God's Word one gift at a time . . . ~ Under His Grace ~