Hoo boy, be careful what you wish for peeps. Or in my case, what you pray for-
I’ve found myself this past month in a few situations where my head is inflated and my hope for public recognition is too big. I’ve been sucked in by the idea of people admiring me and it’s an ugly spot to sit. I’ve recognized it and I’ve found myself praying about it. A lot. Particularly at the gym, where I have lots of time to let my mind wander and my heart reflect.
“H-U-M-B-L-E M-E GOD”, silently sounding out each letter as I do a rep. Right bicep H, left bicep U and so on. I keep coming back to this when I’m working out. When I’m driving. When I’m lying awake in bed at night. I started actively asking God for this recently and the lessons have started pouring in.
Early Monday morning of this week, a Facebook friend who I respect and who I have somewhat regular interactions with commented on a post of mine. It was an alternate perspective on a major national event that happened recently. I had already seen the video she posted and I answered briefly with my thoughts about its irrelevance. Things got heated very quickly. She said I didn’t care about the truth. That I was biased (she wasn’t wrong). I didn’t feel that her comment about me not wanting to know the truth was accurate and I responded. It just got worse.
I promptly deleted the entire post, knowing what would come later in the day if it stayed and other people chimed in. I messaged her, telling her I had deleted it and expressed my thoughts further. I told her I didn’t think I was wrong or that she was either. I told her I was still working through a lot of it.
Her response was a gut-punch. She said that she was questioning my character and that I was not who she thought I was. She said she was proud of me for turning my life around since high school and had enjoyed watching my journey but now she wondered if I was really the person she thought I was. She said I had veiled hatred and she wasn’t sure she could be friends with someone that held my beliefs since they were contrary to hers. “Your comment really was frightening for me because it totally changed my idea of who you are.” This all happened before 7am.
She kept using my name, too, which was odd. I haven’t seen this woman for twenty years. Did we really have a good idea of each other’s character because we’re connected on Facebook?
My hands shook as I applied my make-up that morning. I felt sick to my stomach- paranoid and questioning myself. The thing is, I really didn’t respond very well. I should have taken more time to give context to my responses. I should have been slower to write back. But I wasn’t. And because I was honest (I admitted that something had triggered me) and I was certainly imperfect, I was deemed dangerous.
I messaged her and told her how much our conversation had affected me. I said it was probably best for us to part ways. If one post and two comments can make her completely question my integrity, then we likely would be better off “unfriending” each other. And so we did. I wished her well. She wished me well. And I felt extreme relief a few hours later, after a talk with my bestie and sister, of course.
I’m imperfect. I make mistakes. I’m biased and I often speak my mind, too loudly and too quickly. But I’m not hateful and I have a good heart. I strive to be someone of good character. Sometimes, you need someone to tell you what you’re not to be reminded of what you most definitely are. It still hurts, though. And while I feel like I wasn’t wrong, I feel like she wasn’t either. That is, until she questioned my character.
I assure you this won’t be the last time I mess up. I’ll respond too quickly and too impassioned. I’ll be biased. I’ll promote those like me.
And hopefully my hand will be more steady when I apply my mascara after a scuffle. Because I’ll remember my worth and I won’t question my value- no matter the time of day.