I haven’t blogged in a while, but not for lack of things to say. I pretty much let life get in the way, and I will give about 15% to laziness. At this point, I sure wouldn’t say no to an accountability officer (eerrrrrm….any takers??).
Anyways, I would be lying if I said that I have spent half as much time (in the past couple months) with God as I am accustomed to. But that does not mean that He has not been trying to get my attention; whether it is through conversations, encounters, situations, sermons, music, devotionals, quiet times, observations et al.
But first, let me season the meat of the story before I dish out my point (s).
I have always had to deal with ‘talkers’, after all, that was once my part time gig outside of Fulltime School and work…😳…lol. ‘Talkers’ are folks that speak before they think. ‘Talkers’ are noisy gongs; their words have no depth and add no value. They speak words that I liken to weapons of destruction, missiles auto set to launch, with no regard for the aftermath. ‘Talkers’ gossip with no remorse, and frankly speaking, there is no logic behind this form of madness, it just simply is madness.
In the beginning stages of my walk with God, my mouth was a major topic of discussion. He would tell me that my mouth is not only for food (I am known to eat mountains…lool) and that it is definitely not for gossip. “Bridle your tongue, be wise about what you say; speak life not death” He would say. Hmmmm, breaking a habit is like being weaned off breast milk or maybe it is more like getting over an addiction …either way, it is a period of pruning. There will be resistance, ouches and relapses….but the light at the end of the tunnel is that it is a period that gives room for growth…deliberate growth. So, He began to train me to speak with purpose, and He would say “Michelle when you speak with purpose, your words are graced with authority, and the ability to uplift, build up and encourage.” As far as I am concerned, my God…I call Him Daddy… is the realest G, but He is tough when He needs to be.
That being said, my pruning period has been both uncomfortable and painful; and just when I think I am close to graduating, I am smacked with the reality that class is still in session. I have had a few slip ups, trying to rationalize gossip…because well…it is sweet! I would think, well if I am talking about their actions (i.e. what they did) and not their character (i.e. defaming their person) then I am not doing anything wrong. But off course, this was until Baba God flipped the script on me…and then I understood that in the jungle of gossip…it’s all blurred lines. There are no laws that separate the actions from the character. Both are lumped together, become a tangled mess and before you know it gossip has created a new monster version of you, and like a wild fire, your new version becomes how folks (that don’t know you) know you. It could even go as far as causing the folks that do know you to question the you that they know. So, how many people are you going to have an opportunity to speak with to rectify/reclaim/rebuild the you that you know, from the ashes of the fire?
Last night, I was reminded by a dear friend about a phrase my Pastor (Chris Oyakhilome) says often…”Never let someone else’s bad behaviour influence your good behaviour”. Well, I wish this reminder came hours before, when I did just that. For the life of me, I just could not summon up the strength to be the bigger person, whether it was by acknowledging the person with a hi, or by making the person feel welcome with a smile. The lens of my heart was zoomed in on hurt, and in that moment, the hurt/bitterness/dislike/irritation won. I proceeded to remove myself from whatever vicinity she was in and I consciously ignored her (better than a cat fight or a war of words I think #shrug). Gossip has painted for her a picture of a me that I have never met, and that picture has determined how she sees, relates to and talks about me. I was irritated that the source of the gossip lacked the boldness to speak ill of me to my face, but yet continues to extend her hands for hugs when she sees me. I was even more irritated that I could not just do the shoulder dust off, say hi, smile and carry on. It’s like high school all over again, except with supposedly grown/mature folks 😱.
Is it coincidence that just last week at mid-week service, my Pastor preached on character, and placed special emphasis on Love and Forgiveness? I mean I have heard many sermons on love and forgiveness, and it all sounds so flowery and pure, but putting it in practice is…wow. It is easy to love those that love you…not so much for those that don’t; those that have spoken ill of you, those that have hurt you, those that have denied you at points, those that have been fake et al. How do I love someone/anybody that makes it their life’s mission to reconfigure my person and distort the perceptions of others about me? It is neither fair, nor rationale. On the other hand, how can I say that I am born of God who is love, and not love? I went to bed with these thoughts swirling in my head, and woke up this morning with an urge to read 1 Corinthians.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.
Will I please everyone? NO
Will I be appealing to everyone? NO
Will everyone like me? NO
Will everyone want to be my friend? NO
Will everyone always have nice things to say about me? NO
Will everyone have my back? NO
But such is life.
Gossip usually stems from a place of insecurity. I am (You are) not defined by the language of this world or the words of another, except and until I (you) allow them to. I choose to love for the peace that comes with knowing that I am in God’s will. Love brings clarity and that is just what I desire in my life. Love is lending a hand to someone who just 2 months ago slept with your boyfriend or spoke ill of your family or stole from you and the list goes on. Do I have to go out of my way to seek/beg them to befriend me? NO, But do I have it in me to be of help when they are in need? YES. After all that was the very essence of Jesus on the cross. He died for a world of folks that hated, laughed at, beat, hurt, denied, and crucified Him. That is Selfless love…loving on purpose. I ask for extra grace for that everyday, because I now know that love is about God, seeing the beauty of God in an individual even though they neither see it themselves nor know of it.
Life is a journey and so is my Christian walk…I won’t learn it all in one day, and I doubt I will have learnt it all on my death bed at 90-ish. It won’t always come easy (and not everything will always make sense), I am human…so are you. But there is a grace (to deal & handle) allotted for each day and everything that comes with it. “It is not by power, nor by might, but by His spirit”, sayeth the Lord.
PS: A big thank you to all the wonderful folks that encourage me to keep writing, God bless you😘