This past week was a really big lesson in that for me. I had signed up for an event, volunteered my time, talents, & resources to help out. I was contacted personally to confirm that I would attend, but when I arrived, the woman whom I spoke to (I'll call her "Cathy") said merely, "Well, it's good to have a face with a name." And that was it! She left the other woman in charge of the books to look bewildered when she couldn't find my name on the list of attendees. The woman helping me said she had no lunch order for me for the next day, either, which I found odd because I had just talked to Cathy. This woman was a bit apologetic, while Cathy (whom I had just talked to a couple of days earlier) said nothing, ignoring the whole exchange. Just like a stray dog, I was offered whatever was left over for lunch the next day. I said that was fine and truly wanted to just let it go, because I didn't want to make any hard feelings between Cathy & I, plus there were others in line behind me and I didn't want a scene. (You see, the times in my life when I have been assertive, things were turned around on me & I was made to take the blame whether I was right or wrong -- this happened so many times I just quit being assertive because standing up for myself wasn't working anyway. I let people overshadow & hurt me.)
Later that night, I told my husband what had happened. It bothered him, too, but he was willing to let it go if I was. Days later, it was still gnawing at me. I felt completely insignificant, overlooked, and undervalued. As a result, I was sullen, testy, negative, and completely down on myself, allowing my poor attitude to seep into every part of my life. I saw myself as someone who mattered to no one. Was that Cathy's intention? No. I'm sure she was either over-committed, trying to do too much for the event, or either she lost track of things through a lack of organization. However it happened, it left me wounded. She clearly handled it wrongly. I didn't go back the next day, which proved to be the Lord's will anyway. Some things came up to make me unable to attend.
The Lord kept reminding me of my value to Him. While I accepted that, I felt that people had let me down. After a lifetime of being pushed aside, left out, & unheard, that does something to you. So, Jesus' view of me became overshadowed by what people thought of me, or at least how I perceived them to think of me. That was wrong. You can click on the word "PLAY" to listen to what my reaction should have been.
"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows." Luke 12:6-7 (ESV)
It took an honest conversation with my husband (who also reminded me of my value to him) to unlock the truth of why I was being so negative & down on myself. After our conversation, I felt better and more able to forgive Cathy and let go of what had happened. But I made a mental note to be assertive (and more prayerful) in the future, no matter the outcome.
Does it still bother me? Yes, but people are people -- they're going to let me down. Knowing my Lord's opinion of me should overshadow the opinions of human beings -- I'm still working on that. And I know I let people down, so I must offer grace & forgiveness to those who do the same to me. Is it easy? Not at all, but the Lord can help me to let those things be small by comparison, if I let Him.
"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13-14
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:32 (ASV)
How do you react to hurts and offer forgiveness?