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Knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement from a Christian perspective is my goal. I post a weekly commentary, which could be about world events or the events of my week. Other days I might share stories, recipes, homemaking tips, book reviews, political talk, biblical truth, or other blogs and websites I like. This blog is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

HIGHER THAN HUMAN

"Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."--Ephesians 4:31-32

"We're only human," she said to me "We all get frustrated." She was responding to the guilt I feel when I'm troubled by people and circumstances. I'm not always the gracious woman that I long to be. Sometimes people say things that are so hurtful I want to lash out. Sometimes life seems so discouraging I want to throw up my hands and say, "I quit!"

I'm not sure how the conversation started. I think it started with her sharing the frustrations of her job. I then shared some of my own frustrations and she offered comfort by reminding me that we can't react perfectly to every situation. Our human nature is flawed. Sometimes that flawed nature takes over and we react in ways that we regret later.

As much as we try not to be swayed by the opinions of others, we are still hurt by careless comments. Sometimes it feels like certain people have it in for us. They seem to find satisfaction in making us look stupid and incapable. The last two people who gave me that impression were women. And I can still feel the hurt.

In my younger days I had that same competitive nature. I enjoyed being the smarter one, the prettier one, the harder working one, the more capable one. Today I get no satisfaction in that. But I still respond negatively to women who need to be the best. When a woman makes hurtful comments in an attempt to bring me down, I don't fight back I get quiet. But my friends will hear about it later. And I'll rehash the conversation in my mind for days, thinking about what I could have said to quiet her.

My flawed nature wants to fight back and years ago I was pretty good at delivering a cutting response. But I know that's not the way I should respond. So whenever I'm feeling verbally attacked I shut my mouth and pray, because I know that if I open my mouth I'll say ugly things I'll regret later. But when it's over, the hurt is still there and I need to talk about it. That's when I share my frustration with friends as I did with the woman who reminded me that I'm only human.

We are all human and we all mess up at times. The stress of life can cause us to vent frustration at any given moment. Sometimes the smallest thing can set us off. But there's a freedom and a peace in knowing that I no longer contribute to people's stress by needing to be better than them. Whatever insecurities I had back then have matured and I no longer need to be the greatest gal in the room.

I discovered that although I have a flawed nature and a human tendency toward selfishness, I can fight that tendency by an act of my will and choose to love others. I can even encourage other women to outshine me. My human competitiveness is smothered by my desire to love people rather than compete with them. And that puts me in a higher place, a peaceful place where I'm free to pursue my personal best without comparing my performance to anyone else's.

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