I’ve been in the finance world for over a decade. I’ve built a pretty great business that incorporates some pretty awesome people. Some are clients and others are colleagues. I consider myself pretty blessed, yet it didn’t come without sacrifice.
You might recall from a previous post what I enjoyed most about my road trip last summer: one-on-one time with my sixteen year-old dog Murphy. I say this because throughout my twenties and early thirties my career came first, which were his youthful years. Positioned above all things was my constant desire and drive for growth, which I was conditioned to believe lead to validation and success. The biggest sacrifice made over the past decade in my life was time. The benefit now is more freedom however, because I sacrificed so much time throughout those early adult years.
I am intentionally carving out time on Wednesdays to work on this Surrender Project throughout 2020. I have some awesome things planned for the project and am excited to put more time toward such purposeful work. One main focus is helping people overcome fear, anxiety and the conditioning of the world. I believe we all have a Divine Purpose as well, which we can tap into if we’re willing to Surrender to God’s plan instead of attempting to control every facet of life. I also want to help people realize that spiritual gifts are so much more rewarding and fruitful than what we’ve been led to believe the world provides. I have a mission, perhaps even a ministry, and am thrilled to have the flexibility to focus on this project much of my Wednesdays. I’m thrilled to commit MORE TIME to do GOD’S WORK!
This isn’t a post about the “why” behind My Surrender Project. This is a post about a couple recent experiences with one individual I work with at my “day job.” You see, I own my business. I own it as much as a person can own anything, as I believe God really owns it all. I put in years of 50-60 hour weeks in my twenties, which now gives me the flexibility to spend time this project in my thirties. I obviously don’t just limit Surrender Project to Wednesdays either, as much of my free time is dedicated to this mission. I think this is important work. I think this is a calling. Others however evidently disagree.
Some people simply don’t consider this Surrender Project “work.” This specific individual has made some condescending comments related to how hard I work recently. This person works for a friend of mine and therefore works indirectly with me at times. A joke this morning was heard, it was felt, and is now the catalyst for this post.
My initial reaction to his comment was to let my ego respond. I’m pretty sure I’ve worked harder than most people for the past decade, including him, yet I don’t need to rub that in his face. I don’t need to gloat about the business I built. I suppose I just needed to exercise quiet strength, which is ultimately the choice I made. I certainly don’t need the approval of this guy, or anyone else for that matter. This reminds me of Galatians 1:10- “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – NIV
I believe people often crave something to judge others about so they don’t have to spend time working on themselves. I guess I cannot blame them, true growth requires a ton of intentional work, much of which is scary. Laughing at someone else, scoffing at their passions, or judging how they spend their time is a lot easier than focusing on making real change within. Why do many people gossip or aimlessly scroll social media over spending quiet time with themselves? Why do many people dull their minds with external pleasures over meditation or self-reflection? Perhaps focusing externally, even in spite of others, is easier than focusing internally.
Let’s take it a step further and use this individual as an example. What prompts the repetitious behavior of poking fun via sarcasm and jokes at other people’s expense? I’m not the only person this guy targets, as it seems to be habitual abuse. When I spoke with my friend about it he muttered: “that’s just how he is.” Okay, well if that’s the case it begs the next question: how did he become this way?
I imagine deep rooted psychology plays a role. Perhaps a home environment was the catalyst. Perhaps fitting in at school or in a social circle prompted this behavior. We learn early to behave in a way that gets praise. The praise this individual seeks seems to be laughter on the surface, yet is it deeper than that? Probably. Someone who consistently cuts others down via jokes and verbal jabs is probably someone who witnessed this being socially accepted, perhaps even applauded as a youngster. Could’ve been a parent. Could’ve been the only way he fit into a certain group of kids at school. Regardless, it’s a learned behavior and I refuse to believe that abuse verbally is simply “the way someone is.” When a child cries in the checkout line because they want candy and the parent caves, the child will probably do the same thing next time because it worked! Aka- it was learned. When you’re applauded, feel a sense of belonging, or perhaps even feel safer by ridiculing and making fun of others- you’ll probably continue with more of the same.
I speak from experience. I possessed a short fuse, a big bark, and a rough exterior for years. This was a learned behavior to protect against anyone being able to wound me. I learned early on that I needed to act tough to stay safe, especially emotionally. The chip on my shoulder was learned, it wasn’t just “who I was.” We all have the ability to work within and make a choice to treat others better. We must really work on ourselves to remove that chip, to remove our ego, and to remove the hurting of others for perceived self preservation or gain.
The old me would’ve snapped back with a demeaning comment this morning. I would’ve said something incredibly hurtful while posturing for perceived control of the situation. I would’ve even tried belittling this guy to ensure his comments never came firing in my direction again. Yet what is the point? As much as he doesn’t focus on himself why should I focus on his comments? His perception is just that- his own. He probably thinks his way of putting people down is harmless. He probably uses this mechanism as his main way to fit in or feel valued. I disagree with these antics, yet instead of fighting back I chose to use this experience for good…
Why should I worry about someone poking fun at The Surrender Project? I believe this is part of my Divine destiny. I believe this project could help people well beyond what I’ve done helping people over the past decade via my “day job.” And I’ve helped a lot of people! I have such a passion to help others overcome fear and anxiety, so why let another’s comments deter my progress?
Everyone has naysayers. With this project being so much about God I’m undoubtably going to experience human beings offering unwarranted and unwanted opinions. I need to remain sturdy in my resolve. Today is a great reminder of this!
I will not let people pleasing impact my spiritual journey. I lived that life.
I will not let others dictate my actions. I lived that life.
I will not let others’ words cut deeper than God’s grace.
People are wounded. I’m still wounded. I just pray for continued healing so I can be a light while doing GOD’S WORK.
How about you? What do you feel when people cut you down? What do you experience when other people belittle your passion, your mission or your ministry? I guess the best thing we can do is turn the other cheek, as Jesus said in Matthew 5:39: “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”
I believe the more spiritually wise one becomes the less impacted one becomes by the world. I pray that over time we can let others’ misperceptions simply roll off our backs. I pray we can be so gripped with Grace that human judgements are merely words floating aimlessly. I will limit my time with naysayers to the best of my ability and I hope you can do the same. Yet, perhaps someone who doesn’t agree with or understand our mission will still make jokes or belittling remarks. Perhaps others will judge from a place of perceived righteousness. One guy cracking jokes isn’t going to limit my ability to give light to this world. One individual with learned behaviors set in motion years ago just craving to fit in via sarcasm and slander won’t stop my shine! I refuse to quarrel with those who don’t understand my mission, my passion and my faith. How about you?!
I wanted to share this story in case you have those in your life who doubt you and try to make you feel small! YOU’RE NOT SMALL! I want you to know that we all experience the tyranny of others’ judgement, misconceptions and warped vantage points! Don’t let others stop you from shining! Don’t let others who regret not chasing a dream stop you from chasing yours! Don’t let others who haven’t tuned into their Divine Purpose stop you from Surrendering to God and embracing yours! I pray you remember that most people are simply acting out a script they learned to survive in a world mostly filled with ego and self preservation. I pray that you feel God’s hand guiding you over any others trying to pull you back. May we all shine bright, regardless of what anyone else says!
You can follow me on Instagram for more daily thoughts and interaction: @Surrender_Project