What do you do when people offend you?

One thing I’ve had to really work on is my response and reaction to people who go out of their way to offend me, purposefully try to impede progress, who outright disrespects me, and those who virtually have zero manners and upset me because of their ignorance.

c551ce45e10aed57520dbc5b5ae1c3a2How do you handle things like that? I know in my earlier years I always had a quick comeback and snarky comment ready for those exact moments to use them. Other times I laid awake devising up a quip to throw back at just the precise moment to throw the proverbial pie in the face. Most often, I’ve had the chance to just be silent and let the silence speak for itself… ignoring someone who wants to do verbal battle gets under their skin just as bad as a severe tongue lashing throw-down. 

I’ve had to learn to keep my mouth shut in many situations because my snarky comments and unabashed head-on tongue lashing only added fuel to the fire, and I became aware that I was stoking a monster set on everlasting fire. I had to realize that me saying something was them accomplishing getting under my skin, and I couldn’t stand that they were able to ruffle my feathers. However, when I remained silent and did not succumb to the tit-for-tat play that they wanted, the fire and bite was never that bad or lasted that long, and eventual boredom set in… 

Today I had a strange thing happen to me… First of all, let me back up and give some historical context about the situation.  I’ve been working out with a trainer for a little over 1 year… from September 2015 to present. I’ve paid this person weekly for performing this service, and had been having buyer’s remorse, but feeling empathetic, I just stuck with the program. Off and on, this trainer would not show up or text to let me know they wouldn’t be able to make it. Very rarely would I have to do a rain-check or inform them I would not be there to train… mind you, I gave ample time to inform this person (2-5 hours versus the 2-5 min heads up that I would get whenever they couldn’t make it). 

“It is what it is!” That was my mentality… I’ll just take whatever you got because doing it on my own wasn’t cutting it. So I was happy just to have someone train me… Anyways, as the months and weeks wore on, I learned that he had skin cancer and would have to be out due to being sick or whatever… I accommodated. He wouldn’t show up some days, and I’d realize that 5 min into our scheduled time when I didn’t get a text message… no problem, “it is what it is!” So I just took it upon myself to work out on my own. I have never been a no-call-no-show. I have however, been unable to make our standing appointments, but as I mentioned earlier, I have always informed him ahead of time. Today, was another unfortunate time where I have come down with an ailment… an allergic reaction to something that makes my hands and feet swell up with a rash… so I told this trainer… the one who couldn’t make it on Friday, but texted me ahead of time to make sure I could come, then to turn around and text me 10 min before our scheduled time to say they couldn’t make it. The same trainer who didn’t text me or show up for 2 days, without an explanation… I digress… so today I let them know I wasn’t going to be able to make it.  This person says, “this stuff pisses me off more than you know. There is a term in Pittsburgh we say about stuff like this, “jag off” and it fits.” So of course, being the young person that I am, I look up the term, “jag off” and it means that you are an annoyingly selfish a**hole. So my first emotion that hit was anger… ‘cause I just felt like he was trying to offend me. Second, I re-read it because then I thought, well maybe he didn’t really mean anything by it… but the meaning of the term is clear about what that person means when they use it.  Third, I wanted to delicately explode on them with articulate words to basically blow their ignorance out of the water. 

1d835882f7f543e444303542fe2baa5dHowever, I have come to the conclusion where silence is golden here… however, my actions will be priceless. Here will be my opportunity to share the power of God… and I have to ensure that what I do next is impactful, in a gospel sense. Do I turn the other cheek? Do I feign ignorance? Do I respond tacitly with a cool response that will ensure they never speak out of turn again? Do I terminate the relationship because they have now disrespected me, and for that I have no tolerance? Was it all a misunderstanding? Should I even get clarification?? All of these things are running through my mind as I read and re-read the text message. Again, I need to be powerful with my actions… in considering, what would Jesus do in this situation? As I’m thinking about WWJD, I wonder how that could even apply because Jesus would know that person’s heart… he would know what their motive was… he would know more than I can know… and so it would be unfair to try and figure out what Jesus would do when Jesus would already know the past, present, and future of this person… but I digress… 

a39956242e2f8e99ba9bc03d40fa2cacThe Christian spirit in me wants me to forgive and forget. Brush it off as just something old people say, and move on. The parent in me wants me to say something, get clarification before I take something the wrong way and just gain understanding before making an assumption. The person I’ve become through my life experiences wants to immediately respond with such an articulated, grandiose, black woman educated vernacular (aka Angry Black Woman) that I don’t even think he would understand. I went back and forth on this decision all day to say or not say something… I conversed with a few close friends to gather more understanding because I could just be overreacting, so I waited. Silence. The next time I was supposed to meet him, he was there… and I found out that he was talking about doctors, not me… so my lesson is learned… take the Christian way… give the benefit of the doubt and follow up with clarification as need be… and save the scathing, well articulated, emotional tirade for something that is an obvious affront to my person. Sometimes it’s better to be late on the trigger than to give in to your hot emotions prematurely, which could lead to ruination to a part of your oikos without even realizing it. a3594e7fc7a93e91de840822c314b780

Ring in the New Year with Joy!

1a6668c998641231d035590d12551d71As the New Year have rang in, we sometimes look for this to be our motivation to restart, recharge, re-motivate, renew, start something fresh, purge, cleanse, destroy, rid, and devote more time, attention, money, cares to something we hold dear in our hearts.
The New Year is a perfect time for all of that. However, we shouldn’t wait just until January rolls around to start something new and fresh. We shouldn’t keep old and bad habits with us because the new year has come through. Sometimes we are hanging on to bad things in our lives longer than necessary because we’re waiting for an external push to make us get rid of it.
There should be some internal fire and self-determination to make your life a little better everyday.
As I was reading one of my devotionals, it says that “joy” is a choice. Thinking about that, I have to agree.  It is a choice. I am in control of my feelings, reactions, and emotions. I often allow my circumstances and situations to dictate how I’m feeling, and that should not be the case. God gave us the spirit of “joy” as a fruit of the Spirit. We choose to allow things to hinder us and our relationship with God, along with other distractions because of our choices in our emotional responses to how life treats us.
f5e8bd81a47ecbe31561f7d03252e1c0We have to be careful because our lives can possibly bend and change as the wind blows. Being on an emotional rollercoaster like that is detrimental to our mental health! We cannot control other people and their responses… we can only control our responses. Our facial expressions. Our thoughts. Our behaviors. Our emotions. Our responses. We have to mentally and sometimes physically choose to do things different.
I remember when I was in the midst of a storm in my life, and at first I reacted to everything. I was mad all the time. I was irritated. Depressed. Sad. You name I did it. I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, and I couldn’t keep my brain from jumping to the other side and providing a fast quip or snarky comment about anything. I was collapsing and going crazy for about a year.
Then one day I had to face the ultimate test, and from that point on I realized that no matter what happened I had to trust God. I had nothing left or nothing else to give. I was exhausted and tired of disappointment. I realized that this is happening because I haven’t allowed God to fix the situation. I kept jumping in, along with all of my two cents I had to provide. When I finally realized that how I was feeling was being fed by relentless negativity I decided to just shut up. Literally. I didn’t say anything and only responded in very short limited explanations. This allowed me to reserve my most useful responses in other areas where it would serve me better. Once I learned this, a peace of understanding flooded my senses… and I was then able to put all of my trust in God and not fear the unknown that I wouldn’t be able to control anyways.
f917342c8119bf516da649445a63f262So my advise is just to choose “joy.” You can also pray to God to help you uncover the joy that you believe may be lost or you just simply cannot get past the disappointments in your life. He will be there for you and help you recover your joy. He will bring about a peace of understanding and you will be able to see for yourself how trusting God in all of your situations gives you joy! I’m a witness! Test God! He won’t let you down!
Do you need joy in your life today?  All you have to do is call on the name of Jesus and he will give you what you are looking for. His name is the sweetest name I know, and there is no one who can give you what you need besides God. Call on his name! He will answer you!
Psalms 5:11-12
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
    that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
 For you bless the godly, O Lord;
    you surround them with your shield of love.
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