Do you ever feel as though you joy is being robbed from you? Within the last few weeks, I have.
It had been a very stressful time in recent days as I took on the many tasks, dealings with people and the lack of sleep. The combination had me pretty edgy throughout most of the hours. A very physical occupation which also requires a great deal of concentration, combined with very little downtime here at home, had left me so very drained. Add the absence of sleep and, well, most of you know what that brings.
Another thing that didn’t help my personal woes was the deliberate ways in which I would engage in the world of one of my interests: reading posts from bloggers. I have been reading them and responding with undertones of disgust, arrogance, strong opinion, and since the posts were read in the mornings, I would carry the crap with me throughout the rest of the days. Even though I was not in any shape to process some of what I had been reading, the content of most of the posts were so full of the same things I just mentioned: the undertones of disgust, arrogance and strong opinion.
Are the writers exhausted too??
Like fueling fire with fire, the flames were only growing more intense.
Yesterday, I had an experience that really taught me a lesson when it comes to being patient with people. I won’t go into depth, but a few of my co-workers are very, “difficult” people. That’s just how I will describe them. One of the people just happens to be very high rank within our company, and his ego is a force to be reckoned with most of the time. After a lengthy presentation he and the president of the company had conducted, I apologized to him. Months ago, during another one of our meetings he had spoken at, I voiced a strong opinion (aggressively) that was kind of out of line. Although he handled it well, I was questioned by a supervisor about my demeanor. So yesterday, I pulled him aside and apologized to him for my actions. He said that he was not bothered by it, but his face sort of told a different story. He told me an apology was not needed, and that he has “broad shoulders and thick skin”, which I don’t doubt at all, but it made me feel better. The apology was intended to serve as the personal mindset that I carried with me throughout the rest of the day: to not let people rob me of joy, and for me to extend grace to those whom are also fighting their own battles.
That was the intention, anyway.
People are flawed, and people — all of them — are full of a degree of pride. Even though my intention was to keep this mindset of extending grace and maintaining the joy within, my pride poked through. More than once. More than twice. Taking on the other “difficult” people I had mentioned throughout the day really tested my patience, and I quickly resorted back to the, “disgust, arrogance and strong opinion”. The difference was, I caught it early and refocused.
As I look at the life we all live, whether in the reflections of blog posts or within the face-to-face, I see that we all possess that flaw of pride. Some value it like the dollar it takes to maintain, and some try to shed it in order for the fruits of His Spirit to reside within them. In love, and I mean the defined version of His agape love, there is no pride. That is the love that we should model, or push for. At the same time, we are always at war with ourselves, with the world, with our insecurities, with the consequences of the sin within us all, and the tricks the devil plays in the fallen nature of our existence. Is the fight easy? It varies within us all. Wouldn’t you agree?
As I go forward, I pray to God I can maintain the joy and extend the grace. After all, it’s not what we receive but what we give back. If we get a type of destructive pride from others, it’s up to us to decide what we will give back. It’s up to each one of us to decide where, when, how, and why we place ourselves in situations that either rob or provide joy. It’s up to us to choose to extend the grace we all deserve more of. We all want to be correct within our pride, but we should desire to be correct within the heart of the Lord.