Don't take it Personal, it's not about you!
Last summer, I had my first working experience ever. I was almost as nervous as I was excited. However, I could not have been more blessed by God. Not only did the parents of a very good friend of mine graciously welcome me to their home, I worked with people who I believe were divinely placed in my life. On my last day at the internship, the associates had a little farewell gathering for the other intern and I. They associates had very lovely words of appreciation and encouragement for me, and there were also tears in abundance. I hear even my boss shed a few tears as well. Even if I doubted, that day I realized that it was purely the Lord who graced with that experience.
I really received a lot of love and wisdom at my internship. The Lord really showed me that it pays to work according to His plans because I had prayed against interning in Lagos as my family lives in Abuja.
Either way, I still don’t know how I got that experience. I suppose it has something to do with a God who does exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond all that we ever ask or imagine. I also learnt that sometimes, God pushes you out of your comfort zone just so that He can have all your attention on Him.
One day at work, I asked Jumoke, the associate I directly worked with, how to deal with a bad boss. I really admired Jumoke for her work ethic, her simplicity and her helpfulness. From the moment I started work, she took me under her wings and was passionately invested in my personal and career development (did I just say career? whaaa?)
“Do not take it personal”.
As simple as that sounds, Jumoke’s response is profound. Consider for a moment how very often, even your own attitude towards others is a manifestation of how you’re feeling at that moment, how they have treated you in the past, and what you think about them. It’s the same situation others.
I'm not saying that there are not people who don't want to see us smile, or who plan our downfall. There certainly are. And this is a reflection of their own problems and insecurities. In the same vein, the way we deal with other people is often a reflection of who we are.
Here are a few points to consider.
1. If we have joy inside us, we cannot but share joy with others. When we place our trust in God, He directs the entirety of our lives. Even our emotions and reactions are in His hands. No matter how badly people treat us, our self esteem remains unshakable, because our self worth comes from the Lord. Next time someone says something mean to you, remember that it’s just a reflection of who they are and what they are dealing with. It is not about you, so rather than let that get you down, pray for the person. Ask God to grant them joy and peace and don’t get upset.
2. In the same vein, do not let your problems affect your relationship with others- No one deserves to be treated unfairly because we’re not feeling great. When you’re in a bad mood, we need to find a way to get out of that mood. The Lord is faithful and He will always help us. When we're really unhappy, we need to take a break at that moment, and go somewhere alone. When we feel like we'll be mean to people, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to speak for us, or to shut our mouths when nothing good will come out of it.
3. Do not give people power over your life- The only person who should have power over our lives is God. The Bible says that in the presence of God, there is fullness of joy. So if you believe that God lives in you, then you are constantly filled with the joy of the Lord, because that’s source of your strength. If you know that your strength comes from a God that never fails, you should be rest assured that your joy will always be full. No man, woman, bad boss, horrible group member should bring down your spirit! So how do you deal with people who make you unhappy? Look to God, focus on him squarely and He really takes care of everything else.
4. Do not be afraid of confrontation- When people have a bad attitude, as much as we should pray for them, you also owe it to them to correct them in love. The Bible says that we are to lovingly bring our brothers and sisters back to the right path. The key word here is “lovingly”. We are not called to approach people in self-righteousness. We are called to gently explain the effects of their actions, and to continue fighting for them through prayer. We must be concerned about people around us to the extent that we lovingly rebuke them. Remember that Jesus also rebuked Peter because He (Jesus) loved Peter and wanted him (Peter) to share in the wonder of the resurrection that was to come only after the crucifixion on calvary!
That’s all for today. Remember that it pays to walk according to the ordinances of God, and to follow the path He has set out for you. And remember that it’s not about you, so you shouldn’t take it personal when people treat you unfairly. We need to pray for each other, and God will do the rest!
Image from here.