When a friend of mine who is also a public speaker suggested to me recently to take one word a year to study, research, pray about and then teach on, a word immediately came to mind: unoffendable. Being easily offended is a hard way to go through life so I loved the idea of teaching on this. But the problem is I can’t speak on anything I haven’t learned, don’t really believe or am unable to do.
Things started happening after that conversation that made me acutely aware I would not be able to teach about being unoffendable until I could figure out how to quit being so easily offended. I was offended when a perfectly put together blonde woman looked down her nose at me at the mall. Another (offensive) woman walked by me at the bookstore then stopped directly in front of me to look at the same books I was looking at (until she blocked my view). There are people who cut me off in traffic, that mom at school who didn’t return my hello and of course, many of the things my husband says or asks me to do. The list of things I instantly get defensive about or offended by is long and wide.
I began to realize I could be offended by people of all races, genders and social groups multiple times a day, seven days a week, including holidays.
After asking God to help me with this for many months this week He finally did. I decided I was going to choose not to be offended. I would commit to try to ignore snide comments, condescending looks and stop reading into what I perceived as offensive. I was going to try to give others the benefit of the doubt, pray about my (convoluted) thinking and also try to pray for whoever was “offending” me.
My quest to be unoffendable has taught me among other things, that being constantly offended robs me of an immense amount of time and mental energy. It is exhausting to contemplate what someone meant by a remark, gesture or look (and then rehash each conversation, expression and glance fifteen times over in my head). It takes time to try figuring out why my kindness isn’t reciprocated, what I did wrong or how I can prove myself. The only thing worse than admitting this sophomoric behavior? Regret over time I have wasted doing it.
Sometimes I pray and then wait for God to do something. But sometimes what He “does” is simply remind me He has given me a spirit of love, power and sound mind. I can decide to choose faith over fear. I can, with the Spirit’s help, decide to overlook rather than take offense. Getting to the place where I resolve to change my thinking and focus is always a process and it doesn’t manifest itself perfectly. But in His love, Christ gives me a much needed awareness of whatever robs me of experiencing more joy and peace. He then ensures I remember the power I have in Him to be free. #abundantlife #noregrets