Like water off a duck’s back…
Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it…
Turn the other cheek.
I wish I had done that a little more effectively last night. It began as a simple question about plans for the coming week but, like so many seemingly simple things, it led to complications and conflict.
I’ve been pretty honest with this blog. I’ve written about my highs and lows over the course of the past few years. The personal devastation I experienced in the collapse of my marriage did a lot to increase my candor and honesty. When lousy things happen, you can pretend that everything is okay or you can face them, wrestle with them, and get banged around by them but – hopefully – survive so you can tell your story.
My story from last night involves hearing words of anger thrown my way by a woman who called me her husband for twenty years. I made some choices last week that she didn’t like. I see those choices as handling a parenting situation in what I still view as a smart and consistent manner. She saw it very differently and, essentially, demanded that I admit my failure and apologize. I stood my ground respectfully for quite a while. I calmly explained my position and defended my rationale. I assured her that what she saw as a selfish decision had actually been very carefully considered and that I stand by my actions.
The problem arose when I allowed myself to feel hurt. I began to retread those old places of feeling like a victim and I became defensive. I made some sharp, critical comments with the intent of making her feel bad.
I failed to turn the other cheek.
I didn’t say or do anything horrible. By most standards it was just a minor lapse of maturity and a bit of rudeness. Some might even applaud me for sticking up for myself. It wasn’t what I wanted to do, though. I had made up my mind to be firm but long-suffering and patient. That resolve held up for a while, but my sharp tongue got the best of me.
So…where am I going with this? What’s my point?
I guess I’m just trying to remind myself that life throws garbage at us and I need to not let it tear me apart. I need to recognize that, sometimes, other people just want to be nasty and I can’t control that…but I don’t need to own it, either.
I need to admit when I’m wrong, of course, but I also need to let the ugliness just roll off my back. It will help me in the long run because patiently navigating tough moments builds emotional muscle.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. – Romans 5:2-4 NLT
I want to be strong in character. I want to be able to endure struggles. My goal is to be confident and walking in the joy of salvation. So, next time, I will try again.
Next time, I’ll just let it roll.