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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are You Offended?

So much to say!

So excited for this new year and for the change of perspective I'm having.

It is fascinating that the older I get, the more I realize about myself and can see how I have so far to go and so much still left to understand.

Today it starts with talking about being offended.

I find myself offended a good 50% of the time. Probably more if I was honest.

Offended by Facebook, Twitter, the news, family and friends, complete strangers.

Offended.

Annoyed. Irritated.

Bothered. Harassed.

And then I saw something that made me stop in my tracks.

A blog post or FB post (can't remember which) that said "You can choose whether or not you are offended."

And I was so confused.

And annoyed. :)

But the more I thought about it the more I realized it was RIGHT!

Even if someone slings mud, lashes out, says something intentionally rude, INTENDS to offend you...you CAN choose NOT  to be offended.

That means not lashing out and retaliating.. It means not harboring a grudge. It means keeping my trap shut when all I want to do is itemize why the other person is pond scum.

I can move on and realize they are entitled to their opinion and that their actions DO NOT DEFINE WHO I AM nor should they define HOW I ACT.

We say it to our kids:

"She hit me!"

"She hit me first!"

"It doesn't matter who hit who first. She was wrong for hitting you, but since you chose to hit her back you're both wrong."

Instead of wasting precious time and energy on stewing about that vague Facebook post that I am SURE was aimed at me or contemplating the comment about [insert hot button issue here], I can say, "You know what-- I don't care! Yeah, that hurt. And yeah, it was really annoying. But I have a choice here: react and be mad or take a deep breath, ask God for strength to look past it, and move on with my day.

I have spent years....YES, YEARS.... replaying conversations and wrongs committed to and against me. All to never get that time and lost sleep back.  Whether or not I realized it or meant to, I gave others my power and took that energy away from my family. I lost countless nights of sleep by rehearsing what they said, what I should have said back and what I wished they'd say to me over and over and over...

What did it gain me? Did they fall on their face begging for forgiveness?

No.

In fact, in some instances, nothing has changed. And in some cases, it's only gotten worse. I build invisible walls with bricks of hurt and harbor simmering animosity that keeps me from offering grace and forgiveness.

And all of that stress and underlying tension eats away at me and keeps me unbalanced.

How do I go before God with a grateful heart when I am so full of all that crap?

Sure stuff will happen. People will be idiots and purposely do hurtful things. People will also unwittingly hurt my feelings, but I have a choice in how I respond.

And Should that person who "offended" me come back and want to make amends or clarify...it will be a lot easier to do so if I haven't given them a blasting of 'what for'.

I have an amazing talent of going from 0 to blind rage in .3 seconds, so this will be difficult for me. I am queen of inferring offense from FB posts and Tweets. In lightening fast precision, I can weave together a reason someone would be rude to me--even if they had no intention whatsoever.

And for those who are purposely mean, rude or moronic...let them be. I don't believe in the concept of "karma" but I do believe that the seeds we sow come back to us...positive or negative. And the positive will yield blessings from God.

And truthfully....if someone is saying or doing something outside of God's will that offends me, my first thought shouldn't be to be personally offended. It should be to pray for them and ask for wisdom; wisdom in knowing when and how and IF to respond. Wisdom to remember that any judgment I lash out at them may be coming back to me since I am sure to fall and may have offended others as well.

There is a difference between the Holy Spirit within me being grieved at someone's actions or words and my being personally offended. I am learning the difference. I am also seeing in my own life daily how Jesus can be BOTH from my actions and yet he chooses to forgive me and inspire me to change. I want to be more like Him. And I want to focus more energy on loving and growing closer to Him than I do on being offended at others who are imperfect like I am.


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