What does it look like to practice what you preach? It sure isn’t always easy. Last night, I wrote this:
"I've been toying with the notion that you can change your perception of someone if you simply change your vocabulary. Now, think about this for a moment: your friend tells you a story of someone, maybe they've painted them in a color of disdain. Instantly you form this opinion in your head of who they are -- preconceived notions if you will. You become fiercely annoyed at the mention of their name, you can't imagine a time when you liked them, the struggle. I propose that we would change the way we speak over the situation so we could in turn change our perceptions. Speak positive, loving things and that is what you'll begin to believe. If you call out who God says someone is, your heart will begin to align with His and all the beauty you spoke becomes reality. You begin to believe the actual truth not a lie that was blinding you.”
Now, when I wrote that, I was just processing some thoughts that I was trying to implement into my life. I was expecting that when I had to walk it out, I would have had time to process and wrap my mind around how that actually looks. Well, because God wanted to fast track that process, I got the opportunity to practice what I was preaching; this morning.
Let me tell you, it was not easy. I was presented with a person who rubbed me the wrong way because of some words that were spoken out of pain. Everything inside me wanted to stand up and say “Nope!” with a slew of other opinions, but that is not what I am called to do. It was hard, because while I am a Christian, I am also a human and sometimes you just feel like you want to “turn up” on somebody. Just being honest.
I sat there, patiently listening to what they had to say then simply responded with “good morning;” that was the end of that, or so I thought.
I left the situation with my soul and spirit feeling all squiggly, because they were wrestling with my flesh. On one side I wanted to pray for them and on the other side I want to blurt out all of my thoughts. With each thought my opinion of this person just kept growing with distaste. God sure doesn’t waste any time, does He?
I sat there in my car, driving to work, listening to worship music and He checked my heart.
He gently reminded me of what I had just said and then asked me what He says about that person. He calls them beautiful, loved, valuable, secure, kind, loving, peaceful — all of it. He calls them His. That’s all that should matter.
I sit here writing, with my hands shaking because this is still not easy, but I know the truth. When people are feeling pain, they react in pain and sometimes it seeps into their situations. Their pain doesn’t define who they are, and it shouldn’t be how I define them.
Sure, I’m not saying to purposefully put yourself around this, but give grace knowing that pain sometimes acts as a blindfold.
Their pain doesn’t dictate you.
I read something the other day that said: If you had $5,000 and someone stole $10 from you, you wouldn’t throw away the $4,990, so why would you do that with your time. Don’t let someone who “steals” 5 minutes of your day cause you to throw away the rest.
Beauty is present in every moment you want it to be, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. So, while it is still difficult for me, I’m choosing to see the way God does. I want to see the beauty, after all, it’s everywhere.