Lets be hard to offend....

The other day, in a land far far away, called Walmart, an older lady was a head of me in line and out of the blue she turned around and told me that I had a very pretty face. I was taken back a little bit but thanked her and smiled. I kind of guffawed it off…thinking, "weird.... nice, but weird."

 A few moments had passed and she was checking out. I was standing there wondering why she had decided to give me a compliment like that. I had not showered yet that day, I was still in work out clothes and a pony tail, and I had no make up on. I caught a glimpse in a shiny reflective part of the racks that hold the candy and I thought… “that chick is crazy….look at me I am a hot mess.” As I started to check out and made eye contact with the cashier, who had heard the lady compliment me, I thought for sure the small, sympathetic smile she gave me said, “I do NOT see it lady…I mean, not at all!” 

I actually started wondering if her compliment was more like a pity comment and designed to just make me feel better about the whole unfortunate situation that was my hair, face and outfit. I was somehow talking myself into the idea that the compliment was not a compliment at all, but her sly way of telling me you, in fact, do not have a pretty face. Suddenly I had morphed this lovely women’s gesture into something I was offended by. WHO DOES THAT??

Please tell me I am not the only one!  

That drive home really had me thinking….this being so hard on myself is not something that is new for me, I am mean to myself. As I really thought about it I started to slowly realize what was wrong.

I have struggled my whole life with being a person who spends too much time being way to easy to personally offend….

Usually when I am stuck in a place being of easily offended, it is because I am listening to the voice in my head and it convinces me my worth is minimal. It stirs the pot and leaves me helpless and hopeless. I suddenly am in situations where I am angry/upset/defensive and even hateful. It convinces me any criticism equals disgust, a misspoken word by a friend is how she really feels about me, and that any sideways glance is a guarantee that I am gross or dumb or not worthy of that persons attention. It renders me feeling out of control. At these moments I have forgotten I have a choice, I have lost sight of my ability to control that choice.

I would be so sad if any of my friends came to me feeling this way…but here I am, a counselor, who knows about feelings…getting easily caught up feeling this way. 

I decided that day after leaving Walmart that, I do not want to be too EASY to offend….I want to work on being HARD to offend!! 

But more importantly Jesus wants me to be hard to offend…NEWSFLASH….this old world, she’s broken! Misery loves company, because of this, the world and its brokenness wants everyone else to be broken and miserable with her. But wait, put a few seconds back on the clock……because we truly have a choice. 

Jesus lovingly and carefully designed us so that we would have that choice…he promises a blessed life to those of us who are not quick to be offended. In James 1:19 he says “ know this my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” When we talk too much or even let our brains think too much, we communicate to others and even ourselves that our ideas and thoughts are much more important then anyone else. {GUILTY}

James is helping us understand that we need to reverse that process. He is helping us see that if we can put a mental stopwatch on our thoughts we will have the power to identify when enough is enough. This power will cause us to be much happier and wiser and ultimately more content.

When left to our own devices we convince ourselves that our opinions and thoughts are “right” and then we are offended or easily hurt when they are contradicted.  This can even happen with a compliment. If we do not see its truth or value we can turn the compliment upside down, and decide it is a negative thing.  We end up falling into the trap that James 1:20 warns us of, and that is our untended to thoughts  will “not produce the righteousness that God desires.” 

Choosing to be hard to offend keeps us relying on Jesus and in a place that allows for humility and security. It is also a place that encourages happiness and contentment. It lets nice Walmart shopping ladies give us a sweet compliment and hear it as nothing more then a lady choosing to bless my day!

~imperfect little me

James 1:19-20 (NIV) My dear brothers and sisters, take note: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce righteousness that God desires. 

Proverbs 17:28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.