"For God has said, "I will never fail you, I will never abandon you." -Hebrews 13:5
Recently, I was appointed a role for an event. It was exciting and I was pumped to be asked to participate. Commence research and brainstorming ideas for ways to bring the best to the table. I went all in. I even took time off from work so I would be wholly available. Then, just like that, things were taken in a different direction. Someone else stepped into the role leaving me feeling defeated and rejected. My heart was hurt, my pride wounded and my anger awakened. It felt like a set up for failure. Was everyone laughing at me? Did anyone care that this ripped me apart? Was I being asked because there was no one else and at the final hour a better option was found? Was I removed because the popular, more well-liked, better suited person had decided they were able to assume their rightful place? Let's just say I went right back to 13-year-old me and middle school melodrama mode. To add insult to injury, the event was something I greatly wanted to be a part of. These were my friends. This was an area of my life that had been central for a very long time. Maybe, it was time to quit this. Find another place to serve. Bitterness began to rule.
Now in the grander scheme of things, this really was a small potatoes deal. Nothing would shift. My life was not altered. It was not going to make or break me financially. It was an event. A small moment in a very big life. In truth, a few years or even months from now it would not matter nor would I remember it in any significant way. So, why I was a spinning myself into altering a bigger part of my life by leaving a place completely due to this disappointment? It took me thinking of all the great things that would be given up for this one moment that caused me to pause in my hasty anger. While in prayer the thought came to me that this was a people issue for me. This wasn't God, or church or any of the good that is our relationship with Him. This was the devil twisting me around and away from Him. It behooves me to mention that my very human heart was loudly proclaiming discontent and groused constantly as well. This combination made me feel ugly, small and petty. These are not good feelings. I did my very best to let it go, give myself grace and move forward with the thought that God's plan is better than any plan I have. Truthfully, some of that hurt lingers. It was difficult to stand by and watch during the event and not wrap myself back up in the negativity that felt so inviting at the time. The amazing thing was the discovery about a strength that I took for granted about myself. I was so involved in what was taken it didn't dawn on me that there were other ways to still be useful and needed. It wasn't until multiple people inquired about these areas I had helped with in the past and would I mind serving there again that my focus shifted. There were still things to be done. This event was not about me in any way, shape, fashion, or form. During this time, I became acutely aware of my inner dialogue. I was making a mountain out of this proverbial mole hill. The ways I found me speaking to myself were ways I would never allow anyone to speak or be spoken to around me or anyone for that matter. I was the meanest of the mean girls to me. "This is what you get for trying to fit in. This is what you get for thinking they want you around. This is why you should just be quiet and invisible. You don't really look like what they want anyway. No one really wanted you there, they are just too nice to say that." Not only did this discredit me, it greatly discredits and disrespects some very good people who never in any way treated me negatively or gave any indication that they felt this way. In truth this is not at all what was actually happening, but I was busily scooping that mole hill to mountainous proportions. This is why listening to your heart and following it are very bad ideas. It's also incredibly easy to believe and act on these thoughts and feelings. How many other situations, relationships and circumstances changed because we perceived the situation incorrectly based on our inner voice overruling our outer reality? Jesus warns us time and time again to be cautious within our hearts and minds. They are easily deceived and led away from Him. This is the very reason we need our relationship with Him! He alone can cut through the chaos of it all while bringing clarity, perspective and peace. After all the time and energy expended for nothing, I’m sure I was capable of fulfilling what I was originally asked to do, but it wasn’t mine to have or do. It was meant for someone else. Me acting like an entitled brat did nothing to improve anything. This is a downfall of our current social climate. “It’s mine! You can’t have it! If I can’t have it no one can!” That too felt wrong and petty. I realized that I definitely was better suited for the area that opened up for me to serve in. I was good at it. I absolutely loved it and it brought so much joy. It allowed me to be in fellowship with those around me in a way I hadn't experienced before. The event was overwhelmingly successful. Everyone involved was incredibly humbled at the goodness it brought to us and our community. If I had continued to listen to myself, I would have thrown it all away. Missed all the goodness that was there. Hurt feelings and resentments would have damaged friendships. We need each other. We need that communion within Him together. It fosters our spirits and bathes battle weary souls. It creates a place to love and be loved. A little glimpse of Heaven even. I am thankful for this failure. It allowed a lot of growth along with introspection. It created a new dialogue with my Father that I hadn't realized was missing. He did! Of course, He did and I know that is why He works all things together for His good. He is a good, good Father and I love Him so! "A person's steps are made secure by the Lord when they delight in His way. Though they trip up, they won't be thrown down, because the Lord Hold's their hand. -Psalm 37:23-24