I’ve been vulnerable to petty distractions and attacks for a period of time. Of course I didn’t notice a pattern or recognize danger until I was deep in the grips of something destructive – anger. Recently, I had a very strong reaction to some workplace ridiculousness. It was the extreme ridiculousness of the situation and the fact that I allowed myself to engage in the ridiculousness that had me jerking myself up by the scruff of the neck. I didn’t like the fact that I was allowing myself to get distracted from my primary project goal by something that wasn’t even relevant to the completion of my project. Part of my self-correction included apologizing to my project colleagues: “My apologies for falling into a rabbit hole of ridiculousness. It’s rare that I allow my goat to get got.”
Part of checking myself consisted of asking myself two telling questions. (1) What am I really upset about? (2) What do I have to prove to the people I was engaging with?
The answer to the first question had nothing to do with the petty issues pelting me. The answer to the second question was: absolutely nothing.
The enemy was attacking me through very accommodating vessels, but it was up to me if and how I allowed the attacks to affect me.
These attacks that were aimed at the very heart of who I am and what I’ve worked hard for. Most of them literally came through people I didn’t know (a stranger appeared at my door one night to yell at me), people I haven’t spoken to in years (friends and relatives who had cut me off) were suddenly calling and emailing, and work colleague intent on showing me how insignificant I am in the whole scheme of things were making me aware of their disdain. And of course the most unexpected and vicious attacks were through people who knew me well (or thought they did). The attacks went on like rapid fire throughout this whole year. But it was only in the last three or four months that I cracked. I was extremely stressed and extremely tired.
So how did I respond when the cracks became big gaps in my peace and reasoning?
Well, I was only being told lies of hatred and unworthiness. After a while I didn’t have the strength to fight the lies. They kept rolling over me and eventually seeped into the cracks of my armor. That’s not to say that I thought less of myself in regards to the people attacking me, but I got extremely angry and wanted to attack them back. This was not a healthy anger. It was dark and seething. It was hateful. It recollected abuses, insults and wrongs long forgotten. And each new attacker was in danger of receiving the full brunt of the anger consuming me.
That’s what I saw in myself when I finally checked myself. But the strength to check myself didn’t come until after I completely shut down. I had to close out the voices. Eliminate the distractions. Reevaluate everything about my life. Who am I? Who do I want to be? Am I where I want to be? Where do I want to be? What have I done that truly matters? What needs do I have? What do I still desire? What’s next? What happens between now and then? How do I get there?
The months of October and November proved to be a period of recalibration for me. I didn’t dive deep, but I certainly cleaned the surface and started digging. I began uprooting the elements that didn’t belong in my spirit: resentment, bitterness, anger. Now I see all the attacks as requests for entry into my spirit. They were knocks at my door, cold calls and smoke signals seeking an invitation to come roost in me. After resting, thinking, praying and re-evaluating, I finally had the strength to say, “No, you’re not welcome here.” And, “The door to my life is no longer open to you.”
I CAN JUST BE ME by Laura Story
HELLO, MY NAME IS by Matthew West