It seems the time before the High Holy Days and the external circumstances around them, become even more stressful as the end of days unfold. These past few weeks, I've apparently disappointed a few folk, and they've been quite verbal in their expression. My main concern, of course, is whether or not I've disappointed my Heavenly Father or our precious Messiah. As it turns out, this year, much of the verbalized disappointment is nothing more than false accusations. I'm not claiming perfection, here, but simply acknowledging the fact some folks are just disappointed in their own expectations and believe it is their right to vent. That's not my business. I'm finding the need to seek Abba in some other areas of my life that I feel need improvement or change. The opinions of others is something I've finally received victory over! HalleluYah!
Nearly three years ago, Abba told me to enlarge the tent. Things seemed to finally be going fairly well with the family, but as we all know appearances can be deceiving. The expansion plan was under way in no time, and I really hoped I knew who would be needing the space. Within two months of the project, with one room completed and the other nearing completion, the worst revelation imaginable came to me and came clearly. Although, now in looking back, it could have been worse. I could have stepped out of Abba's Will, and realized the truth, after the fact! Thank G-d for the revelation! In that revelation, I learned I can be cordial, I can be gracious, even helpful, but without compromise. When the pressure was turned up, I refused to back down. As it turns out, the truth that was always lying just under the surface, became known and that was that. No turning back, no looking back, and finally true peace in that fact. This taught me a great deal about dealing with many less traumatic events and relationships in life.
According to Messiah's parable, there are four kinds of people. Many Torah based prayer books confirm this. So, basically we all fit into one of four categories. What I've learned, however; is not so much to categorize people, but to recognize what people prefer to emit or display and my own reaction to certain instances. It has greatly reduced the stress, but it hasn't done a lot for my popularity or appearance of normal.
1. If a person is reaching out in searching for truth, reach back with the reason for the hope that is in me. These are the people who need encouragement! Effort expended in other areas can actually rob us of the energy for this precious task.
2. If a person is venting about someone else, be careful in what is said, as only one side of the story is being told, and there are always two sides to any story, often a third.
3. If a person appears to be skimming over the issues or making a goal of searching, it's basically superficial so as always, hope for the best but avoid expectations.
4. If the person is directly accusatory or comes across as a self-proclaimed victim, realize for the time being, they already have the script written . . . there is no need to introduce any different concepts. I've learned and continue to learn . . . to acknowledge their feelings, without taking part in the acceptance or dispersal of blame.
In dealing with people from those four approaches, I find I'm not so unstable or unsteady. I can assess the situation and respond according to what is appropriate. When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong, but I do not let anyone else put the words in my mouth. When I apologize and I frequently do, I apologize for what I understand I've done wrong and seek forgiveness of that for which I'm repentant. It isn't always the same thing as the accusation! I've come to realize that apologizing for every accusation or feeling like I must always be on egg shells or defensive, is a very dishonest way to live. Facing the truth and standing on that truth, is really quite freeing.